WITH INTERESTING FACTS AND ANECDOTES ;
A SHOUT HISTORY OF THE MACKAY INSTI-
TUTION ; AN EASY METHOD OK
TEACHING DEAF-MUTES AT HOM E ;
THK A.UD1PHONE, ETC.
ILLUSTRATED BY DEAF-MUTE ARTISTS.
A Compilation by
Principal of tlie Mackay Institution for Protestant Deaf-mutes,
K. K GRAFTON, PUBLISHER. 252 ST. JAMES STREET.
The First Patron of the Maokay Institution for Protestant Deaf -Mutes.
WITH INTERESTING FACTS AND ANECDOTES; A SHORT
HISTORY OP THE MACKAY INSTITUTION ; AN EASY
METHOD OF TEACHING DEAF-MUTES AT HOME ;
THE AUDIPHONE, ETC.
ILLUSTRATED BY DEAF-MUTE ARTISTS,
A Compilation by
Principal of the Mackay Institution for Protestant Deaf-mutes, Montreal.
F. E. GRAFTON, PUBLISHER, 252 ST. JAMES STREET.
FKIBTTO BY THE BOYS AT TH» MAC KAY INSTITUTION t»R PROTBBTAKT DEAF-MCTES.
OOTK ST. LUG BOAD.
TO THE MANY KIND FRIENDS
DEAF AND DIJTVIB
THIS LITTLE WORK IS MOST
RESPECTFULLY AND GRATEFULLY
TO THE READER.
Having suffered from the most intense deafness for
more than thirty-five years, and labored as a teacher
and missionary to the deaf and dumb for twenty years,
the Compiler of this little work is, in consequence,
thoroughly acquainted with the requirements of this
afflicted class. He would urge all who possess any
influence, however small, with our Legislators, to use
that influence to obtain for the deaf-mute, , in the
name of humanity and justice, the same facilities for
education and spiritual instruction, as are enjoyed by persons
who can hear and speak. He wants justice, not charity.
There is no class of people in the world who have been
so much misunderstood, who have had to contend with
so many difficulties and hardships, and whose motives
have been J so often mistaken as the deaf and dumb ;
and on this account the compiler has always striven,
and still strives, to ameliorate their condition and to
obtain for them their just rights. His humble efforts
in this direction, in England and Canada, have, thanks
to a kind Providence and to Christian benevolence,
been attended with some success. But the education
of this class in Canada is yet in its infancy. More
schools [not asylums) are wanted (each containing not
more than 20 to 100 pupils), also a college for higher
education, and places for divine service in the finger
and sign-language in towns and cities. The deaf-mute,
when properly instructed and trained, is not altogether
helpless, as will be seen from this little book, — the
type-setting, printing, and the engraving of nearly all
the illustrations having been executed by deaf and
There is a great want of correct knowledge respecting
the affliction of deafness t particularly as regards its
fearful consequences. Very few persons, even among
the thoughtful and intelligent, are fully acquainted
with the natural and moral state of the deaf and dumb,
the condition of their minds, the peculiar means
employed in their education, and the nature of their
employments in after life. The consequences of deafness
are constantly confounded with those of blindness in
the minds of many for want of a little careful considera-
tion of the essential difference between them. Another
error is to regard the deaf and dumb as little, if at all,
better than idiots. Many other mistakes might be
mentioned, but as they are dealt with in the body of
this work, it will be unnecessary to refer to them here.
These misapprehensions concerning this afflicted
class, coupled with the apparent mysteriousness which
is attached to the mode of their instruction, show how
necessary it is that correct information on the subject
should be diffused as widely as possible, that the
consequences of this deprivation may be better under-
stood and realized, and that the benevolent projects
established for their welfare may receive the full
benefit of an enlightened sympathy.
With a view to diffuse as widely as possible much
general information respecting this class and to correct
prevailing errors respecting them, this little work has
been issued. The materials have been gathered from
over twenty years' practical experience amongst the
deaf and dumb, both children and adults, in Europe
and Canada. Extracts have been made from the works
of other writers, especially from " Language by Touch,"
by Mr. Wallis, which refers chiefly to the blind deaf-
mutes ; and " The Deaf and Dumb," by the Rev. S.
Smith, London. The history of the Mackay Institution,
and an easy method of teaching deaf-mutes at home are
here introduced, mainly to encourage others in their
efforts to start similar schools wherever required.
It has been the aim to make these pages interesting
and instructive to both young and old. The writer is
himself a deaf-mute, and, having derived so much
benefit from instruction is most anxious that all deaf-
mutes should enjoy similar advantages. Any profits
arising from the sale of the book will be used to
help to ameliorate the condition of the children of
silence. T. "W.
Montreal, January, 1880.
To the Reader.
The Early Dawn. — London. — Paris. — Hartford 1
The Single and Double Handed Alphabets and their Advantages 3
The Uneducated Deaf-Mute. — The Sign-Language. — The Difficulties of
the Acquisition of Language. — The Deaf-mute's and the Armenian's
Letters. — From the Creature to the Creator 4
Anecdotes of Deaf-mutes. — A Deaf-mute's Prayer. — The Finger and
Sign Languages Utilized. — "Jesus and Me." — Deaf-mute Artists —
A Prodigy. — Deaf-mute Compositions. — Massieu and Clerc. — Absurd
The Systems of Instruction. — The Articulation Method. — The Natural
Method. — The Combined Method 22
The Mental and Moral Condition of the Uneducated Deaf-mutes. — No
Ideas of a Creator. — Is Conscience Primitive ? 23
Marriages Among Deaf-mutes 29
Blind Deaf-mutes. — Laura Bridgman. — Mary Bradley — loseph Hague.
— Anecdotes. — Death of Hague. — Other Cases on Record 31
The Comparative Happiness of the Deaf and the Blind 42
History of the Protestant Institution for Deaf-Mutes. — Its Early
Struggle. — The First Public Examination. — The 'Census Returns of
Deaf-mutes in the Province of Quebec — Mr. Joseph Mackay and the
New Building 46
Opening of the Mackay Institution by Lord Dufferin. — The Ninth
Annual General Meeting. — Congratulatory Address. — Deaf-mutes at
Divine Service. — Press Notices. — To Parents of Deaf-mutes. — The
Audiphone, &c. — An Appeal for the Deaf-mute 62
An Easy Method of Teaching Deaf-mutes at Home 74
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.
Lord Dufferin, the first Patron of the Mackay Institution Frontispiece.
The Single and Double-Handed Alphabets 3
Mary Bradley and Joseph Hague, the Blind Deaf-mutes 37
F. Mackenzie, Hon. Secretary-Treasurer of the Mackay Institution 49
The Old Protestant Institution Building 5.1
Interior View of the Protestant Deaf-mute School-room. — Mr. Wldd
Teaching the Significance of Words 56
Charles Alexander, the first President of the Mackay Institution 57
The Mackay Institution 58
Thomas Widd, the Principal of the Mackay Institution 65
John Dougall, of the Montreal Witness 73
The One Handed Manual Alphabet (large) 81
The Two Handed Manual Alphabet (large) 82
THE DEAF AND DUMB.
The Early Dawn — London — Paris — Hartford.
One fine day in the month of May, 1662, there was a
large assembly of great persons in Whitehall, London.
His Majesty Charles I. was there, surrounded by
nobles and fair ladies, by diplomatists and bishops,
learned men of all kinds, and ambassadors from
foreign lands. The thoroughfare leading to Whitehall
was crowded with carriages and horses, and people on
foot. Presently there appeared before the King and
his grand assembly a learned doctor and profound
philosopher, named John Wallis, who led by the hand
a little boy, and all eyes were directed to them. There
was nothing extraordinary in their appearance, and
most of the people present wondered what was going
to be done. No king was going to be crowded; no
royal marriage was to be solemnized ; no unfortunate
culprit was to be executed, — then why this grand
gathering? Dr. Wallis had been invited to exhibit
before the King his triumphant achievement in having
successfully instructed a deaf-mute ! He had taught
him to read and write, and the world wondered ! His
name was Daniel Whalley.
Let us cross the English Channel, and see what
was being done for the deaf-mute in Paris about a
century after Dr. Wallis's time. A benevolent-looking
2 Paris. — Hartford.
gentleman in the garb of a Eoman Catholic priest, the
Abbe L'Epee, was wending his way through the
thronged streets of Paris to make his usual round of
visits. In one house dwelt a lady and her two
daughters, whom the good Abbe visited. He entered
a room in which the two young ladies were seated at
needlework. No response was made to his salutation,
which much surprised him. In explanation of this
apparent rudeness, he learned that these two lovely
young ladies were both deaf and dumb. The Abbe's
kind heart was touched to the quick, and he resolved
to devote the remainder of his existence to their edu-
cation. He soon found that there were many others
similarly afflicted, and to devise means by which to
reach their imprisoned minds became his sole thought
day and night. His efforts were not in vain, for he
soon found a way, by signs and gestures and the one-
handed alphabet, to convey instruction to the children
of silence in his country. He afterwards founded the
institution for deaf-mutes at Paris
We now cross the broad Atlantic and come nearer
home. Towards the close of the last century, in a
pleasant home near New Haven, Conn., a little girl was
born deaf and dumb, and a few years after a second
daughter was born, and she, alas ! was found to be
deaf and dumb also. It was a bitter trial to the
Christian parents of these afflicted children, and they
wondered why a loving G-od should afflict them so
sorely. These little girls grew up to be beautiful
young women. They were ladies in manner, but
totally uninstructed. The Rev. T. H. Gallaudet had
recently returned from Europe where he had learned
how to teach deaf-mutes and founded the school for
them at Hartford. These girls were then in their teens,
and their parents hastened with them to Mr. Grallaudet.
They were among those who formed his first class of
deaf-mutes. The youngest made great progress in her
studies, and when she completed her education became
the wife and co-laborer of this distinguished gentleman.
She bore him eight children, one of whom is the
Principal of the present National College for Deaf-
mutes at Washington, and another is the Rev. Dr.
Gallaudet, of St. Ann's Church for Deaf-mutes, in
The Deaf-mute Alphabets. 8
The Single and Double Handed Alphabets and
Now to return to Dr. "Wallis. We find that he used
a double-handed alphabet in teaching his first pupil,
and this alphabet was invented by a very learned
philosopher, named George Delgarno, a Scotchman by
birth, who now lies in a nameless grave in St. Mary's
Churchyard, Oxford, England.
THE TWO-HANDED ALPHABET.
Delgarno wrote a valuable book about teaching deaf
and dumb persons, but Wallis was the first to carry
the idea of teaching them into practical effect. The
vowels of this alphabet are formed by touching the tips
of the fingers of the left hands with the index finger of
the other. It it used in all the schools for deaf-mutes
in Great Britain and other countries to this day.
THE ONE-EANDED ALPHABET.
4 The One-handed Alphabet.
The one-handed alphabet used by Abbe L'Epee is
different from the above. It was in use before his
time. It is employed in the schools for deaf-mutes in
the United States and France. The alphabet made
with the two hands has a strong resemblance to the
capital letters of the Roman Alphabet, while the one-
handed alphabet bears a likeness to script, and on
these accounts both alphabets can be very easily
learned and remembered. The two-handed alphabet
is more distinct and is far better known and more
generally used by the public than the other alphabet.
The one-handed alphabet is very convenient and
graceful. With it deaf-mutes can carry on a conversa-
tion while holding a lamp or an umbrella, or book, or
the reins in the other hand. But for lecturing or
religious service, and for communicating with hearing
and speaking people, who prefer it to the other, the
two-handed alphabet has important advantages. It is
therefore best for deaf-mutes to be thoroughly acquaint-
ed with both alphabets. In the practice of either it is
necessary to keep in mind certain rules of position, for
on these their perspicuity depends. In using the
double-handed alphabet the left hand should be held
open in front of the person addressed, and the fingers
of the right hand should travel, over the left hand
making the letters distinctly and deliberately. The
skilful dactylologist is able to speak with the rapidity
of ordinary speech, and any one able to read and write
will soon become expert with either alphabet after a
little patience and perseverance. The reader can study
them both and compare their respective merits at
The Uneducated Deaf-mute — The Sign-Language —
The Difficulties in the Acquisition of Language
— The Deaf-mute's and the Armenian's Letters.
— From the Creature to the Creator.
With these alphabets the instruction of deaf-mutes
became more general. Schools for them were establish-
ed in most civilized countries. They became the key
to the minds of these afflicted ones, and a kind of
substitute for the potent " Ephphatha ! " But to educate
the deaf-mute appalling difficulties have to be surmount-
ed. He knows no language, except a few gestures and
The Difficulties in the Acquisition of Language. 5
simple signs. It is difficult for those not deaf *to
conceive of ideas without language. The most uncivil-
ized savage has a language, and can express his ideas
to those speaking his language. So the deaf-mute,
until he acquires a knowledge of language, expresses
his ideas in natural signs and gestures — the same
as infants use. When a deaf-mute goes to a school for
deaf and dumb children, his teacher has to supply both
thought and language, and then to lay out and cultivate
the many avenues to the mind over which thought goes
and comes. His lessons involve much translation — first
emotion into ideas, ideas into signs, and signs into
written words, or words spelled out by the fingers
letter for letter. Constant repetition is necessary to
fix the words in the mind. The great difficulty is to
get him to understand and remember words enough to
convey his ideas as he. writes or converses with hearing
and speaking people. We now realize how much a
child blessed with the gift of hearing and speech knows
of language when he first goes to school — he has been
taught by all the people he ever met by simply hearing
them speak. But the only preparation the deaf-mute
has received when he goes to school is his careful
observation of the motions and behavior of people and
things about him,
The difficulties besetting the progress of the deaf-
mute are chiefly in the way of language. His means
of expressing his wants and emotions are those which
Darwin has shown to be common with the brute creation.
His pantomimes are no more like words than is the
chatter of birds or the grimaces of a monkey. When
his motions have been directed into the defined expres-
sion of thought his signs indicate ideas rather than
the arbitrary symbols of speech. He has none of the
benefits of comparative philology. All spoken language
have certain semblances by which, knowing one lan-
guage, the acquisition of others is facilitated. Yet, M.
Hamerton, is his "Intellectual Life," says : "A language
cannot be thoroughly learned by an adult without five
years residence in the country where it is spoken, and
without close observation, a residence of twenty
years is insufficient." This is not encouraging, but
it is the truth. What then shall be expected of a deaf-
mute, whose only opportunities for the acquirement of
6 The Difficulties in the Acquisition of Language.
th% English language are limited to the formulas of
the class-room and occasional conversations with intel-
ligent friends by pen or pencil ? The first six or seven
years in a deaf-mute's school life should be devoted to
the study of language, — to obtain the key that unlocks
to him the stores of human learning as contained in
books. In this pursuit it is not the hundred thousand
words of the dictionary that confuse the pupils, and
dishearten the teacher, but the different uses to which
the same words are put, and the differeut ideas depend-
ing simply on conjunction. Take, as a simple illustra-
tion, the word " draw." The pupil is taught that a
horse draws a waggon. The pantomime is clear and
corresponds With his daily observation. But to his
surprise, the next morning's paper, in its notices, says :
" The concert drew a large house last night," and he
has to learn that in this use draw means to attract, and
house means a number of people. After being taught
by pantomime to draw a picture. He is told if he is
ever so fortunate as to have money on deposit, he
must draw a check before he can get it. He has seen
a school-mate draw a picture, but when the heroine of
a modern novel " draws a sigh," his admiration for the
capacity of art i6 increased. A magazine criticism
commends the scenes of innocence and content which
Milton " draws," but on reference to the parlor edition of
" Paradise Lost," he finds no illustrations, or only those
which Grustave Dore has made. One must confess that
the pupil has enough already to confuse him, but when,
in addition, he is told that " a ship draws water," " a cook
draws a fowl," " a waiter draws a cork," " money draws
interest," and " a minister draws comparisons and refer-
ences," he concludes in despair that the conundrums of
language are things which no deaf-mute can
find out. When to these numerous significations the
modifying adverbs in, out, off, on, up, back, etc.,
are added, and when it is remembered that every pecu-
liar use of a word must be made a special subject of
instruction and retained by a special effort of memory,
a keyhole perception may be obtained of the work
involved in the education of a deaf-mute.
To illustrate the natural language of signs of the deaf
and dumb in order that the reader may better under-
stand it, let us suppose, for instance, that an uneducated
The Sign-Language. 7
deaf-mute had witnessed a drunken man run over by
a carriage and carried to the hospital or to his house ,
he would run home in a state of excitement, arrest his
mother's attention, make the sign he had been using
for man (probably by referring to his beard and show-
ing his height), and then imitate his staggering gait as
he went along : afterwards describing the galloping of
a horse and the revolving of wheels as approaching
the man, showing the shape of the vehicle as well as
he could. He would then represent the man as being
knocked down by it, showing over what part of the
man's body they passed over by touching the part of
his own. He would then make the sign for more men
by holding up his fingers to denote the number ; point
to the door or shutter to describe the stretcher on
which the injured man was carried, and imitating the
carrying of something heavy on his shoulder, and the
moving away of the crowd, by waving his hand in
one direction. But he would not be able to tell the
name of the street or place where this occurred, nor
the name of the man injured, or that of the owner of
the carriage ; — nor would he be able to state anything
that the people might have said about the affair, or any
other details which a little hearing and speaking child
would have been able to do. With such language the
deaf-mute is unable to tell his own name or that of any
of his friends, but he generally has signs for each by
which he indicates them ; and this sign is taken from
prominent features in their appearance or action, viz.,
pointing to the place of the wedding ring for his
mother, the whiskers for father, and indicating the
several heights for his brothers and sisters; limping to
indicate some lame friend, and the sharpening of the
knife for the butcher. It will thus be seen that the
deaf-mute needs a language common to those around him
by which he can communicate with the world. This
is the greatest difficulty in deaf-mute instruction and
requires years of toil, patience and perseverance. He
learns everything through the eye, not by the ea/. The
first year at school is generally spent in teaching nouns
and phrases and a little of arithmetic. The second
year he goes over the same nouns and phrases and
learn to combine words into sentences. Most intelligent
deaf-mutes can write a few sentences to express their
8 The Deaf-mute's and the Armenian'' s Letters.
ideas, or write a short letter to their friends, after being
two or three years at school.
The following is the uncorrected letter from a boy-
deaf and dumb from infancy after being three years in
the Protestant (now Mackay) Institution for Deaf-
mutes, at Montreal: —
" I received your very kind letter from you and was
glad to hear from you and know that you are getting
better now. My father told me will go to Montreal
next September 3rd. I will be glad to see you and
your family. I went to the mines last Tuesday. There
was a man kill, he fell forty feet at the mines. The
men are working the mines. It is rainy now. I am
very busy. The crop is good, the plums is plenty.
My cousin and me will mow the oats soon. I think
you will go to New York one week. I am happy with
my parents at home. I send my love to you."
The writer of this article received another letter
from a converted Armenian Mohammedan who had
J been spending eight years at a college in the United
•States learning the English language. The Armenian
understood and used his native language, for he was
not deaf and dumb. We will compare his letter with
that of the deaf-mute's. It will help to give some idea of
their difficulties in learning the English language. The
Armenian had recently visited Montreal, and his im-
pressions of the city and the people are curious :
" I am going Hamilton College, N. T. Where am
studying to return home Armenia, as I told you when
your kind hospitality I was enjoying. I shook 3 times
the dust of my foot just now against thise city, and
again my brethren who herd me lest night in praree
meating I return my censer thank for loving kindness.
* 1 was a sturenger you took me in.' The Lord give
you helthe to teach blessed G-ospele to those who are
unabl to hear yet Jesus Chrest dide for them for me
and for aney bodey. Bible sed ' what me sow the same
will me reap.' If I was verey rech the hall city would
respect me. If I had nice dresses, stofe-pofe hat rengs
on my fenger golden wach and chane and $. certainlly
I could lechur on Koran and Mohammedanism.
Brethren find plenety excuses just as faresees had
when they sow the merecals- which, our Lord performe."
From the Creature to the Creator. 9
It is easy to teach a deaf-mute how to write, but a very
different thing to get him to understand what he writes
or what is written to him Parents and teachers in
public schools often make mistakes in attempting to
teach little deaf and dumb children without any know-
ledge of the proper way. Once a schoolmaster brought
a little deaf-mute boy to an institution for deaf-mutes
in England, and said he had already taught him some
useful knowledge. He was asked what he had taught
him. He said he had taught him to know that "the
way of God was a good way." -He was asked to show
how he knew the boy understood the sentence, and he
made the boy copy it. This was to him sufficient proof,
but he had never tried to explain to the boy either
what God was, or what the way of God was. It would
be a long time before a good teacher of deaf-mutes
would bring such a sentence for his pupil to understand.
He would explain to him something of the nature of
the Almighty, when the pupil could understand the
language necessary to express it. and then the way of
God would still have to be explained as a metaphorical
expression. To teach a deaf-mute an idea of a Supreme
Being who is called " God," the teacher would begin
thus : A desk is before the pupil. He asks him, " Who
made it ? " "A man — a carpenter." " Of what is it
made ? " " Of wood." " Did man make the wood ? "
" No." " Where did he get it from ? " " Trees." " Did
man make the trees ? " " No ; they grow." " How ? "
" By the sun, rain, &c." " Does man make the sun
shine and the rain to fall?" "No." " Who does?"
They must be told that it is God who does all these
things. So on step by step, from the works of man to
the works of God, and from the creature to the Creator.
Lessons on secular subjects come in , their turn —
geography, history, arithmetic, &c : but the great aim
of the teacher is to give them a knowledge of ordinary
language that they may understand what they read,
and to be able to write down their thoughts for others
not able to understand their signs and the finger
language. Many of them do learn to write down their
thoughts in correct language, and some of them learn
to talk and read people's lips when they are spoken
10 Anecdotes of Deaf-mutes.
Anecdotes of Deaf-mutes.— A. Deaf-mute's Prayer.—
The Finger and Sign-Language Utilized.— "Jesus
and Me."— Deaf-mute Artists.— A Prodigy.— Deaf-
mute Compositions. — Massieu and Clere. — Absurd
It would tire the reader to follow the deaf-mute
through all the stages of his instruction at school, and
it will perhaps be more pleasant to read a few anecdote*
of deaf-mutes that have lived since the days of good
Dr. "Wallis and his early co4aborers
About fifty years ago, Lord Seaforth, who was born
deaf and dumb, was to dine one day with Lord Melville
in London. Just before the company arrived- Lady
Melville sent a lady who could talk on her fingers to
meet Lord Seaforth and talk to him. Lord
Guilford, who was not deaf and dumb, entered
before Lord Seaforth, and the lady mistook him for the
dumb lord, and entered into conversation with him on
her fingers. He did the same. After a few minutes
Lady Melville came into the room, and the lady said
to her, " Well, I have been talking away to this dumb
man." " Dumb ! " exclaimed Lord Guilford, " Bless me,
I thought you were dumb ! "
The following prayer was written by a deaf-mute
boy named Joseph Turner of Edinburgh, who became a
teacher of deaf-mutes, and was used by himself, because,
as he said, he wanted to become a good man :
" O God, take pity on me ; bless me ; forgive me my sin, for I am a poor
guilty sinner; keep me from neglecting to think much of thee, and of
Jesus Christ, and to pray to Thee. Give me wisdom of Thyself to think
attentively how to pray to Thee. Oh I I thank Thee, for Thou hast given
my master wisdom to teach me and my dear poor companions about the
religion of Thee and of Jesus Christ. Oh I pardon my sin ; give me wisdom
to understand surely what he says about religion. Oh I give me good
care not to break the Sabbath day, but earnestly to read in the life of Christ.
O God, open my mind surely to understand what I read in it. Oh I I
would thank Thee to give my companions wisdom to understand what
they. read. Oh I hear me I Thou art God ; besides Thee there is no Saviour.
Thou art holy. Oh I make me to hate sin, and to love the good 1 Oh 1
give me grace to glorify Thee 1 Save me from hell ; take me to Jesus
Christ when I die. O Lord for the Sake of Christ, wilt Thou hear me?
O God, give me good thoughts from heaven through Jesus Christ. I thank
A Deaf-mute's Prayer, 11
Thee that we are at peace in all the world, in They presence. Make us
obedient to Thee and Jesus Christ Thy Son, in believing the gospel, and
reading the Holy Bible concerning Thee and Him. O God, maker of
heaven and earth, I look toward heaven. Forgive me my sin, for I have
committed much sin against Thee and Thy dear Son Jesus Christ. Oh 1
I pray thee, God. to be very pitiful to me, a poor guilty sinner. Oh I my
God into Thy hands I commit my soul. O God, accept me for Thine only
8on's name's sake. God, I am very thankful to Thee this morning
for giving me health and sleep. Keep me from telling lies or bearing
false witness against my dear poor companions this day. Oh ! give them
new hearts ; make them good, happy and wise, for they do not understand
what Thou art. O Lord God, for the sake of Christ. Amen. "
Many great men have found the manual alphabet of
the deaf and dumb useful at different times. On one
occasion an English judge, while on one of his circuits,
lost his way to the next assize town, and none of his
party knew the road. A deaf and dumb woman came
upon them at two cross roads. The judge eagerly
enquired of her the way to the town he was destined
to hold assizes at, but she pointed to her ears and
mouth and shook her head, to tell him that she was
deaf and dumb, and did not understand him. The
judge was in despair and turned to retrace his steps ;
but one of his party who had learned the alphabet of
the deaf and dumb, spelled the name of the town to
her, and she instantly pointed to the direction where
the road led to the place. The judge gave her a
shilling and rode on. He afterwards learned the
alphabet himself, and soon found it useful in the trial
of an unfortunate deaf-mute for robbery. He astonished
. all in the court by talking with the prisoner on his
fingers and acting as interpreter for the lawyers.
The well-known authoress, Charlotte Elizabeth,
was quite deaf, like Dr. Kitto, the author of many
valuable books on the Bible and Bible lands. Her
husband became very expert in the use of the finger
alphabet, and used to translate to her sermons and
speeches in Parliament as quickly as they were de-
livered by the speakers.
Some years ago in a village church in Yorkshire,
there might have been seen a very intelligent young
girl interpreting the sermon to her deaf and dumb
parents, between whom she sat during the service.
1 2 The Finger and Sign-Language Utilized.
The attention of the girl to the voice of the preacher*
and the velocity with which she worked her fingers to
convey to the eyes of her parents what she heard,
excited great surprise in all who saw her for the first
time thus employed.
The value of the deaf-mute alphabet to people not
deaf and dumb has often been shown in different ways.
We could write many interesting anecdotes illustrating
the value of
" That wondrous bridge, no bigger than the hand,
By which truth travels to the silent land,"
had we time and space at our disposal. One more
anecdote of the alphabet, and we will turn to some-
Some years ago, a poor, homeless deaf and dumb
girl in London was taken into service by a lady, and
taught house-work. Her mistress learned the alphabet
to communicate with her, and soon became expert in
its use. Her husband, who was a banker, also learned
it, and the girl became as easily to manage as if she
were not deaf and dumb. One day the husband was
obliged to bring to his home the treasures of the bank
on account of a fire there. This came to the know-
ledge of a burglar, who secreted himself in the bed-
room of the lady, where the treasure was deposited.
The lady retired, to bed while the husband was absent
on business. She soon heard sneezing under the bed,
but remained quiet, as if asleep. The burglar then
emerged from his hiding-place and demanded of the
lady to know where the money was deposited. She
was terrified at his threats and referred him to an iron
safe in a corner. While he wasHrying to open it he
heard the footsteps of the husband ascending the stairs,
and he rushed to his former hiding-place, threatening
the lady with instant death if she said a word about
him or left the room. The husband noticed his wife's
paleness and asked her what was the matter. She
answered aloud, " I have a bad headache," and im-
mediately spelled on her fingers, " Hush, there is a
robber under the bed." The husband answered, " My
dear, I am sorry for your headache ; you must have a
cup of tea," and thrust the poker into the fire, saying
it was a cold night. When the poker was red hot, he
The Finger and Sign-Language Utilized. 13
turned to the servant man who had come into the
room, and said, " Thomas, there is a man under the
bed. Do you think this hot poker will bring him
out ? " The burglar at once left his hiding-place and
begged for mercy. " How did you know I was here ? "
he said. " The lady did not tell you, I Know she did
not speak one word about me." He was given into
custody and afterwards sent over the seas to a distant
penal settlement, and never knew how his presence
under the bed was revealed to the gentleman. The
gentleman became a very warm friend to deaf-mutes
and their schools ever afterwards.
The sign language of the deaf and dumb in the
hands of an experienced teacher often shows its vast
importance in trying circumstances. One anecdote
which came to the knowledge of the writer will suffi-
ciently illustrate this : — A few years ago, the London
police found a deaf and dumb woman, totally unedu-
cated, wandering about the streets at midnight. She
could give no account of herself, and the police kindly
took her to the workhouse near by for safe
keeping. Every effort of the officers of the workhouse
to discover her name and residence failed. A mission-
ary to the deaf and dumb was sent for to try to find
out from where she had come. He found she was
utterly ignorant of the alphabet, nor could she read or
write. He soon found by her signs that she had been
brought by railway to London by a man with whiskers
and then deserted. Now, as no signs could discover
her name and residence, the missionary was in a diffi-
culty. He, however, did not give her case up as hope-
less, but hired a cab and told the driver to drive wher-
ever she might direct. She directed them on up one
street and down another till they came to the London
Bridge Station. The missionary asked her in signs if
they were to get out. She shook her head to say " No."
On they went till they came to the steamboat landing.
She then told him to stop and get out. The sight of
the steamboat gave her great pleasure, and the mission-
ary understood by her signs that she was to go on
board one of the steamers, and pointed towards Lam-
beth. Tickets were bought for that place, and on arrival
there the young woman was overjoyed, and jumped
14 " Jesus and Me."
out ol the boat, making eager signs to her kind friend
to follow. They then hastened on foot through several
streets, the young woman acting as guide, till they
came to a house, which she entered. A ticket was in
the window with " This House to Let " on it, which the
missionary read with some misgiving, and presently
the young woman returned with a sad countenance,
signing to the missionary that her parents or friends
had gone away ! The missionary made enquiries of
the neighbors, and they informed him that the occup-
ants of the house had left a few days ago, and gone to
another part of London. He obtained their names
and the address to which they had removed, and soon
found the girl's parents, who were overwhelmed with
joy at the recovery of their poor daughter, whom they
•aid had been decoyed away by a bad man.
Deaf-mutes sometimes make funny sentences in try-
ing to learn the English language. At one school a
little deaf-mute boy was asked to show his skill in the
use of the English language on his slate, andfhe wrote :
* A man ran from a cow. He is a coward." He thus
unconsciously perpetrated a pun, which caused the
visitors great amusement
A few years ago, an English lady was teaching a
school for hearing children in Demerara ; and a colored
deaf and dumb girl came to learn to read and write.
The missionary's wife and the teacher , shook their
heads, and thought that it was impossible, and signed
for her to go home. Day by day she came to the
school and would not be refused. At last the teacher
wrote to England for the deaf and dumb alphabet. It
was surprising how quickly the poor girl learned the
English language. By-and-bye she could read the
New Testament, from which she learned to love Jesus
as her Saviour. One day she wrote to her kind teacher,
*" Missie, me too happy. You would think when me
walk out that there were two peoples in the road, but
it is Jesus and me. He talk and me talk, and we two
too happy together."
A deaf and dumb pupil of the great French land-
scape painter Corot (who died in 1875), got from his
master a paper on which was written " Conscience,"
which so impressed the deaf-mute that in copying one
Deaf-mute Artists. 15
of his beautiful pencil drawing he even tried to imitate
a stain of glue. Corot, wben he saw it, smiled, and
wrote to him : " Very well, my friend ; but When you
are before Nature you will not see any stains."
In speaking of deaf-mute artists, I would like to tell
an anecdote of the Scotch deaf-mute artist, Walter
Greikie, whose interesting biography was written by the
late Sir T. D. Lauder, Bart. Greikie was a very clever
artist, and has left many much-prized drawings. He
died in 1837. An anecdote regarding an individual
who makes a very conspicuous appearance among th»
characters found in his. etchings, is worth relating as an
example of the difficulties he encountered in his ardent
desire to collect the portraits of people whom he saw
in the streets of Edinburgh. The porter of the Grass-
market was a singular character and arrested Greikie'a
attention. He was somewhat pot-bellied, and with
that projection and hang of the nether lip, and eleva-
tion of nose that give to the human countenance a
certain air of vulgar importance. In this subject it
seemed to say : " Though I'm a porter, I'm no fool." '
Greikie had made several attempts to get near enough
to sketch this man. Day after day he hunted his
intended victim with pencil and sketch-book, but failed
to get a chance of him. The porter perceived him,
and suspecting his intention, at once moved on and
plunged into the crowd. Like a young Highland sports-
man, who wishes to get a shot at an old fox who may
have dodged into cover, Greikie, with pencil and paper
in hand, prowled about after his prey. But the porter
was on his guard and took good care to keep behind
other people, so as to defy the attempts of the young,
artist, until at last, when the market began to thin, and
his hopes of defeating the foul intention against him
ebbed away with the lessening crowd, he lost all;
patience, and abused and threatened his tormenter
with great fury, both of words and of actions. The-
first were of course lost upon the poor deaf lad, although
there was no mistaking the meaning shake of the
porter's mutton fists. But as this only threw his
subject into a more tempting attitude, the artist's fervor
for his art rendered him utterly regardless of conse-
quences, and he tried his pencil with great enthusiasm !
16 Deaf-mute Artists.
This enraged the porter, who roared like an infuriated
bull, and rushed at G-eikie to punish him for his bold-
ness ; and before G-eikie had time to apply his pencil to
the paper, he was obliged to fly to save his bones.
The porter's heavy weight prevented anything like an
equal race, so Geikie kept ahead and made rapid
sketches of his approaching foe at every stop he made,
as they ran up the Grassmarkei The porter was all
the time puffing and blowing and laboring after him,
and his fury seemed to be increased at every step. He
made use of every nerve to catch the young artist,
which prevented him making further use of his pencil.
Fortunately an opeSn stair of one of the large buildings
most opportunely presented itself, into which Geikie
rushed, and the porter remained outside watching for
the return of his enemy. He stood outside with his
hands under the tails of his coat. Geikie had a capital
view of him from one of the windows, and immediately
set to work with his pencil and executed an admirable
sketch of one of the most curious men of Edinburgh,
who has long since passed away. "When the sketch
was executed Geikie found that the porter kept watch
for him, so he had to remain in his hiding place for
several hours. When, at last, the porter got tired of
keeping sentry and moved away, Geikie emerged
from his retreat, went home, and saw him no more.
In the collection of this clever deaf artist the reader
will find the remarkable character above described in
the plate entitled " Street Auctioneer," and he is in the
act of consulting his old-fashioned chronometer.
Many more interesting and amusing anecdotes could
be told of deaf-mute artists (for there are many of them
in England), and of deaf-mutes in various other profes-
sions, but space is limited. Sometimes deaf-mutes
display great intelligence and attain to a respectable
niche of fame in art, science and literature. We will men-
tion one instance of the extraordinary intellectual calibre
of a congenital deaf-mute — a prodigy. Some years ago a
benevolent gentleman found a red-headed, ragged little
deaf-mute in the streets of Glasgow, and took him to
the school for deaf-mutes in that city. He showed
considerable intelligence, and the gentleman thought
he was a rough diamond but capable of being highly
A Prodigy. 17
polished "by education and training. During the first
session at school the boy shot ahead of every other
pupil, and there were then more than a hundred, many
of them having been there for seven or eight years.
The rapidity with which he learned was amazing,
indeed his memory was so retentive that what he once
read he never forgot. Such was the calibre of his
fpind that nothing was too difficult for his comprehend
sion. He read books on mathematics, .metaphysics
and the like, whether they were printed in English,,
foreign or dead languages, which he also read with ease.
When school was over, he would rush to the library,
take out a lot of books under his arms, and make his
way to the nearest fire to read them, while his school-
mates directed their steps to the play-ground. Such,
was the force of habit that he would sit near the fire
even during summer while he studied. No wonder
with a mind so well stored with knowledge, he was a
capital story-teller. He never used signs since the
day he could spell on his fingers. He was appointed
an assistant-teacher at the school, but he found the task
too irksome, and left the institution to become a common
laborer in order to make money more rapidily to
purchase books. He spent all his money in books and
neglected his bodily wants. His books increased in
number very fast, and they formed his table, chair and
bed, by being piled one upon another in his lodgings.
They were his only articles of furniture. The extra-
ordinary learning of this deaf and dumb laborer attract-
ed the attention of many gentlemen and his employers,
who thought that he was not in his proper sphere.
They determined to give him a better position so that
his fund of knowledge might be put to some use.
They visited his lodgings for this purpose one day,
when he was not at his work, and found him dead on
his bed of books, having literally starved his body to
death to feed his hungry mind. He had everything
ready for writing a book, which he said would astonish
the world. There were several reams of paper and a
large bottle of ink, showing that he fully intended to
enter upon the work, but there was no indication of
what work it would be. His stock of books were
printed in several languages of the highest kind of
literature. He was sixteen or eighteen years old when
18 Deaf-mute Compositions.
he died. He had a florid countenance, red hair,
greenish eyes inclining to blue, which give him a
The following is an extract from a deaf-mute's letter
to his teacher in Glasgow, Dr. Anderson :
" How graceful indeed is the very idea of placing
some tangible token of our gratitude in the hands or
our old teaeher whilst bidding him welcome to the-
repose which he so greatly desiderates in the evening
of his arduous life ! For I firmly maintain that a simple
address, however pregnant with the affecting pathos of
a myriad of hearts overflowing with gratitude, such as
that" with which Dr. Peet was presented by his old
pupils last year, would not do sufficient justice to our
own real sentiments nor to our benefactor's merits."
Another writes in the following strain respecting the
education of deaf-mntes, which contains much truth:
"The deaf-mute on leaving school, is a changed
being, quite different from what he was before he went
there ; he is now so intelligent that he may resort to
the society of the wise and good, maintain proper
conduct towards his neighbors, and even hold an inter-
course with that Being to whom he owes his life, with
every enjoyment that can render life easy and comfort-
able. Under the circumstances, the education of the
deaf and dumb must be among the most extraordinary
and remarkable instances of philanthrophy in
The above are specimens of British deaf-mute com-
position which surpass anything ever penned by the
famous deaf-mutes of the past century — Massieu, Clero
and many others. Who has not read the brilliant
metaphorical sayings of the impracticable Massieu, the
famous pupil of Abbe Sicard ? Respecting whom Dr,
Buxton, Principal of the Liverpool Institution for Deaf-
mutes, says : " His best replies were short, terse, pointed,
and metaphorical withal. These are all characteristics
of the Abbe Sicard 's style, both in his writings and in his
speeches ; but if they are the natural characteristics of
any deaf man's diction, I have been singularly unfor-
tunate, for I have never found it so. If there is one
thing they cannot do, and rarely learn to do, and never
Massieu and Clerc. 19
excel in doing, it is the use of metaphors." Yet among
Massieu's sayings are these : — " Hope is the flower of
happiness," " Indifference is the neutrality of the soul,"
* Judgment is the interior sight of the mind," " Reason
is the torch of the mind, judgment is its guide,"
" Prudence is the Minerva of the soul, and rules our
words and actions," "Envy is the intellectual viper
which gnaws the heart and envenoms it," " Jealousy
is a serpent without venom," &c.
It is now well known that the questions and answers
attributed to Massieu were committed to memory, and
formed part of the system of teaching by Abbe Sicard.
Massieu was, according to his friend and school-mate,
Clerc, extremely foolish. " His childishness and vanity,
his absurd follies and oddities of conduct, were so
extravagant as sometimes to disgust even those who
worked with him, and were taught by him. His love
Of finery was as ridiculous as that of Oliver Goldsmith ;
and it might have been as truly said of him, as it was
of Charles II. —
" He never said a foolish thing,
And never did a wise one."
It was his brilliant sayings alone which made him
famous, but they have done more harm than good.
They were delusive and led people to expect every
deaf-mute taught in the Institution to be able to utter
similiar grandiloquent sentences, and to do readily and
spontaneously what they can scarcely do at all. Even
in our own time the fame of Massieu continues to
deceive and mislead. It leads to disappointment on all
sides. Parents are disappointed, subscribers are dis-
appointed, the public are disappointed, the reputation
and possibly the funds of the Institution suffer and the
whole blame falls upon the unfortunate teacher, because
he is not Sicard, and cannot turn out, not one Massieu,
but a score or a hundred.
When the Rev. T. H. G-allaudet went from America
to Europe, in 1815, to seek knowledge and experience
before he entered upon his work of deaf-mute instruc-
tion in the Western World, he found Massieu and Clerc
in the full vigour of their powers, and at the height of
their fame. He first visited England without finding
20 Massi&u and Clere.
what he . sought, and went away, disappointed, tq
France. He was, in fact, compelled to decide upon his
course, and make his choice at Paris. "Whom, then,
did he select as his co-worker and life companion ?
Not Massieu, but Olerc. Not the repeater of sparkling
answers, but the practical, solid, working teacher. His
whole life shows that the founder of the American
Asylum Was a man of great sagacity. The late Dr.
Peet, President of the New York Institution, in the
published report of his visit to the various schools for
the deaf and dumb in Europe, in 1841, says, respecting
Massieu — " Even Massieu, whose fame a few brilliant
answers given at public exercises have spread through
the world, was after testimony of those who knew him
best, unable to write a page in correct French, or to fol-
low out to any length a consecutive chain of reasoning."
Then after citing Clerc, by way of contrast, and as.
showing what a pupil of rare talent may become, in
spite of the defects ot the system under which he was
trained, Dr. Peet finishes the paragraph by saying,
" Such is the prevalent judgment passed upon Sicard
in Paris; I only repeat it." (Report on European
Institutions, page 98.)
In speaking of the disappointment caused by the
brilliant answers of Massieu, an anecdote recorded in
Dr. Orpen's work, " Anecdotes of the Deaf and Dumb,"
may here be introduced and read by every one with
profit, as it shows the absurd expectations as to the
progress of deaf-mute children entertained by persons
who forget the excessive difficulty of their instruction.
Rev. J. D. Hastings, speaking at the tenth annual meet-
ing of the Deaf and Dumb Institution, Dublin, said :
" I wish to mention one fact which came under my
notice. I happened to be at the Institution on a visit-
ing day ; there were several persons present at the
time ; among the number was a lady and her son, with
whom I have the honour to be acquainted ; the lady
is now within the hearing of my voice; she asked
one of the little girls, I believe, the smallest in the
school (Cecilia White), a question ; she had it written^
on the slate; it was, 'Do you remember the first pro-
mise of the Messiah ? ' The children looked and looked
again, and then made a sign to know what was Messiah ;
Abswd Expectations. 21
the lady wrote on the slate, ' the Anointed or Sent.' The
little girl looked again, then looked at me, and made a
sign, by pointing to her head, to say she did not know.
The lady turned to me and said, ' Now I am convinc-
ed the Bible is not taught in the school ; I was informed
before of this, but I determined on judging for myself;'
I endeavored to show her that it was quite unreason-
able to expect a child, who was deaf and dumb, to have
that knowledge which other children possess. I found
all was in vain. I then said to her, ' Perhaps you
would permit me to ask your son (who to all appear-
ance was three or four years older than the little girl),
a similar question.' The lady at once assented. I asked
him could he tell me, ' What was the second promise
of the Messiah ? ' After some time I looked for an
answer ; but no, the boy was as dumb as the little girl.
His mamma looked at him, but no answer. At length
I said, ' Perhaps the question is too difficult ; but I
will be satisfied if you remove the odium from the
dumb girl, and consquently from the Institution ; tell
me, What was the first promise of the Messiah ? ' No
answer, he could not tell. In vain the mamma looked
with anxious eye ; but alas ! no reply. The lady said,
'Answer the question, my dear,' "Indeed, mamma,'
said he, ' I cannot.' Thus was the Institution brought
into disgrace ; while a boy three or four years older
and possessed of those faculties which had been denied
to this poor girl, was unable to answer the question.
I thanked the little boy, and said, *- I would not say
that he did not read his Bible, nor would I say to the
lady that it was not taught in her family ; but I would
say the question was beyond his comprehension.
After some further examination of the little girl, the
lady was quite satisfied that the Bible was taught in
the school ; and I am happy to say, sir, that we have
not only that lady's guinea, but her good wishes, with
a determination to forward the -views of the Institution
so far as she possibly can."
Queen Victoria regrets that she cannot use the deaf
and dumb alphabet now so fast as when she was young.
Her Majesty learned the signs in order to converse with
the deaf-mute daughter of a cottager near Osborne,
Isle of Wight, several years ago. — Montreal Witness^
10th Dec, 1879.
22 The Systems of Instruction.
The Systems of Instruction.
There are three systems employed in teaching
deaf-mutes, viz :
The Mechanical Articulation Method, which is the
oldest of all systems, was invented by Heinicke, a
Saxon, about the year 1750. This system aims at
developing the powers of speech, and the educating of
the eye of the pupil to perform as far as it can the part
of the ear. This system is now greatly assisted by
Visible Speech, invented by Professor A. Melville Bell,
late of London, England, and now of Brantford, Ontario.
It is now employed in most institutions for deaf-mutes.
For semi-mutes, or those who have learned to speak
before becoming deaf, this method is the best.
The Natural. Method, or the language of pantomime.
This system was founded by Abbe L'Epee of Paris,
and is employed chiefly in the United States and
France. By this method signs are used at every stage
of the pupils' instruction, and is often carried to
excess in many schools, preventing the pupils from
acquiring a good command of their native language.
For imparting religious instruction, lecturing and
communicating with uneducated deaf-mutes this
method is exceedingly convenient.
The Combined Method is a system of instruction em-
bracing the first and second methods which, we believe,
was first used by Thomas Braidwood in London. In
schools employing this system the teachers recognize the
utility of -the sign-language, and use articulation where
practicable. This system enables the teacher to teach
deaf-mutes of all degrees of intellect and none are
turned away without deriving more or less benefit
from it. It calls to the aid of the teacher every new
or old plan which may have been found to be benefical
or of value in imparting instruction to either the
congenital deaf-mute or the semi-mute. The combined
method is employed in all the large Institutions in Europe
and America, and is growing more and more popular
Their Mental and Moral Condition. 23
The Mental and Moral Condition of the Uneducated
Deaf-mutes, — No Ideas of a Creator. — Is Con-
We have frequently been asked for information respect-
ing the deaf-mute's ideas of God and the soul previous
to his instruction. This subject has often been dis-
cussed by learned men. The testimonies of deaf-
mutes themselves are substantially alike, as to their
having had no idea of the Creator before instruction.
To the twenty-second report of the American
Asylum are annexed several questions,, addressed to a
number of pupils,, whose average age on joining the
school was about fourteen.. "Before you were instruct-
ed in the Asylum had you any idea of the Creator ?' r
The answers, substantially alike, are given by thirteen
pupils. " No, I did not know that a Creator existed. I
had no idea of God at all before I entered the Asylum."
"Had you reasoned or thought about the world, or the
beings and things it contains ? " "I never attempted
to suppose who had made the world,, or how it had
ever come into existence." " Had you any idea of your
own soul ? " "I never conceived such a thing as a soul,
nor was I ever conscious that my mind had faculties
and operations different and distinct from those of my
body." Their answers show how little their friends at
home had been able to teach them.
The mental and moral condition of the uneducated
deaf-mute has been found to be so low that men of
science and education have asked "Is eonseience
primitive ? "
It was only recently that our attention was called fo
an article on this subject in the Popular Science
Monthly by the editor of the Canadian Illustrated News,
who requested our views on the matter. There seems
to be much ground for the belief that conscience is not
primitive in the congenital deaf-mute before instruc-
tion. "We have, after nearly twenty years' experience
as a teacher of deaf-mutes and. from personal experience,
been led to believe that " conscience " as now
understood — the internal self-knowledge or judgment
of right and wrong, the knowledge of our own
24 Is Conscience Primitive ?
actions as well as those of others — is an acquired faculty
in the deaf-mute. "We possess no record of a congenital
deaf-mute who, by his own unaided efforts, has found
the being of a G-od, or discovered the fact of his own
immortality. His mind is indeed dark and inert— in
fact, hermetically sealed. How could it be otherwise
in his condition ? Locke says that man has no innate
ideas, but that his mind in early infancy is like a blank
sheet of paper, ready to receive any external impres-
sions. So with the uneducated deaf-mute. His mind
remains a blank as long as he is uninstructed. The
famous Abbe Sicard, of Paris, a world-renowned teacher
of deaf-mutes, says that " a deaf-mute (congenital and
uninstructed) is a perfect cipher, a living automaton.
He possesses not the sure instinct by which the animal
creation is guided. He is alone in nature, with no
possible exercise of his intellectual faculties which
remain without action." Sicard. however, refers to the
deaf-mutes of his day, nearly a hundred, years ago,
when through neglect, and being hidden away from
society as a family disgrace, the germs of the rational
and moral faculties were scarcely manifested. Such
treatment of deaf-mutes in our own time is raTe, and,
with kindness and sympathy from the beginning, their
minds have received considerable development. If
conscience means internal self-knowledge, or judgment
of right and wrong, a mind so dark, so inert, and wholly
uninstructed as that of the uneducated congenital deaf-
mute, could not reasonably be expected to possess any-
thing like it. Uneducated deaf-mutes seldom exhibit
compunctions of conscience when they have done any-
thing wrong, but such symptoms gradually appear as
they grow older and some instruction is im-
parted. The testimony of educated deaf-mutes them-
selves goes to support this view, and the personal
experience and observation of the writer confirms it to
a, great extent.
Their moral and intellectual condition before
instruction is little above that of the more intel-
ligent brutes, and lower than that of the most un-
enlightened savages. All philologists and mental
philosophers agree that it is the gift of language that'
chiefly distinguishes' man from the brutes, and that
Is Conscience Primitive? 25
without it he would have little claim to the title of a
rational being. The testimony of educated deaf-mutes
throws much light upon the amount of knowledge they
possessed before coming under systematic instruction.
Very few of them had any idea of the creation of the
world, or of the plants and animals which it contains.
Their own reflections, and all the imperfect attempts of
their friends to instruct them, have failed to give them
Any idea of the existence of a God or the soul. We
need not wonder at this when we read that Ovid, who
lived in the learned and polished era of Augustus,
expressed the popular belief of his time in the theory
that all things were produced by the due union of heat
and moisture, which shows that deaf-mutes have not
been alone in the utter ignorance of the existence of a
Creator. The existence of the soul after death has
never occurred to the uneducated mute. All the efforts
of anxious parents to convey some idea to this end have
failed. The pointing to the fire to convey an idea of
hell impresses the mute that the body will be thrown
into a fire for some cause by some person at some
indefinite time. Before receiving instruction the
writer, whose home was within sight of the parish
church and the county jail, had his notions of heaven
and hell formed by his mother always pointing to one
or to the other of those buildings according to the
nature of his conduct or actions. If he required re-
proof she would point to the jail and fire, bat if she
wished to show that she was pleased with his behaviour
she would pat his head and point to the church, and
then upwards and assume a reverent look. From this
mode of control he formed his idea that the
church was the place for those who had fine clothes
and were well behaved, and that the minister was the
object of worship or admiration. The jail he thought
was for the poor, the drunkard, and those that robbed
orchards, who were there cast bodily into a fire. Having
observed a man in the street whom he once saw taken
into a jail, his astonishment was very great on finding
that neither the man's person nor his clothes had been
burned. The next time his mother threatened him
with the terrors of the jail and the fire for misconduct^
he gazed at her with a look of incredulity, shook his
head and laughed. Queer ideas about death have been
26 Is Conscience Primitive ?
entertained by uneducated deaf-mutes. Most of them
have thought that death was only sleep, and to put a
body in a coffin and bury it seemed to them to be an
act of cruelty. They have no sense of moral wrongs
doing. They think they ought to be allowed to do just
as they please, no matter what it may be. A most
intelligent lady, a congenital mute, who had reachi d a
nature age before receiving any systematic instruction,
confessed that she had been practicing falsehood for
many years without the slightest notion that she was
doing wrong. This is not an uncommon fault with
this class of people. Another of great intelligence had
been in the habit of falsehood and dishonesty without
any compunctions of conscience. He never dreamed
that he was doing wrong, and only dreaded the punish-
ment which followed detection. Many instances could
be cited if necessary from deaf-mute testimony in
support of the assertion that the uneducated deaf-mute
has no moral sense of right and wrong. He is a practical
atheist, and if his friends have tried to give him an idea
of a Supreme Power and such takes root in his mind,
his conceptions on the point are most vague and un-
satisfactory. Teachers of deaf-mutes have frequently
watched the gradual development of the mind of their
new pupils. It is found that, by associating among the
other pupils, the new arrivals will soon gain the idea of
a Being existing above "who can see them, and is
angry when they behave badly," and the pointing
upwards is often used by one pupil as a check upon
another who is inclined to be naughty. Sometimes it
has this effect, but we have more than once seen the
admonitions defied by young deaf-mutes who had not
yet obtained clear ideas on the subject. We have seen
them disputing and their antagonistic principles
aroused when one has been desirous of saying some-
thing especially annoying to his opponent, who, he
knows, has a reverence for the Being above, and ia
shocked when anything is said against Him. He will
say in his signs " God-bad," not knowing his blasphemy,
yet with a secret shrug that he has gained his point,
beaten his antagonist, who rushes with horror express-
ed on his countenanee to report to his teacher the
profanity of the other.
Is Conscience Primitive ? 27
When the deaf-mute is put under careful control he
comes to associate in his mind a line of conduct with
what produces pain, and another line of conduct with
what produces pleasure. Out of this grows a sort of
conscience which leads him to be sorrowful when he
does certain things, and to be glad when he does the
contrary. This conscience is entirely dependent upon
the person to whom he is subjected. " Given a good
master," says Dr. Peet, the highest authority in
America, " and he will be very likely to have a kind of
moral sense that will be a safe guide in the life he
leads, and will bring about habits that will be useful
to him hereafter." So quite the reverse will be his
conduct if he be placed under a bad master. He may
be obedient, diligent, affectionate, habitually honest,
but it will be owing to the influence of kind and firm
control and good example — not to the higher moral
and religious motives that are addressed to children
who hear. He is too often self-willed, passionate,
prone to secret vices and suspicious, but these bad
qualities are generally the outcome of parental indul-
gence, and in having been the butt of thoughtless
Is the uneducated deaf-mute morally and legally
responsible ? is a question which has been often dis-
cussed. In many criminal cases, both in Europe and
America, uneducated deaf-mutes have frequently
figured for murder, but they have been treated as
irresponsible beings, and no sentence has been
passed on them.
There can be no more pitiable object than an unedu-
cated deaf-mute, except where blindness is added to
that of deafness. His condition points to conclusions
which cannot be evaded. It is the duty of society to
provide for his instruction at the proper age, and it
is criminal on the part of parents and guardians who
neglect to secure for their unfortunate child the bene-
fits within their reach. To the deaf-mute education
means everything. It means intercourse with fellow-
men, hope, happiness,, the pleasant communion with
the highest intellectual achievements of men of all
countries and all ages, which we find in books. It
makes life in this world enjoyable and gives him hop©
28 Is Conscience Primitive ?
of salvation in the world to come. To deny the deaf-
mute education is to keep his mind on a level with the
brutes. " To the hearing child," says Dr. Peet, " every
word spoken in his presence is a means of intellectual
development. Every person, literate or illiterate, with
whom he comes in contact is for the time his conscious
or unconscious teacher. In fact school gives him so
small a portion of the knowledge he possesses that it
may be considered rather the regulator than the source
of his attainments. To the deaf-mute it means home,,
happiness; it means the full and free exercise of all
the rights, immunities and privileges which belong
Marriages Among Deaf-mutes.
We will now considered the marriage of the deaf
and dumb with each other. We have known people
to declare that such unions are very wicked, and ought
not to be allowed ; but their opinion is mainly founded
on the belief that this intermarriage invariably perpe-
tuates the infirmity, which is quite a mistake. We
admit that the children of deaf and dumb parents are
occasionally similarly afflicted, but the cases are rare —
they are quite the exception. In London we know of
114 instances of this kind of union ; 76 marriages have
had offspring, but in only seven of these instances is
the offspring deaf and dumb, and in these cases one
or more of the brothers or sisters of one of the parents
have been so afflicted. On the other hand, we know
of deaf and dumb parents who have had as many as-
nine children, not one of which was deaf; we
have known, on the contrary, cases where both parents
have had all their faculties, but out of ten children
five have been deaf and dumb ; and the report of the
London Asylum gives an instance where out of ten
children eight were deaf and dumb. This argument,
therefore, of perpetuating deafness, though it may
be thus applied in the least degree, is not, says
the Rev. S. Smith, chaplain of the Royal Association
for the Deaf and Dumb, London, strong enough
to support any one in prohibiting such marriages
Marriages Among Deaf-mutes. 29
as wicked, when other facts are taken into con-
sideration; for since it is shown that it is in quite
exceptional cases that the offspring of these intermar-
riages inherit the same infirmity, it will not be denied
that deaf-mutes have a right to marry as well as other
persons, and whom they ought to marry depends upon
each one's choice and acceptance. Now it will readily
be granted that there will be the most sympathy and
love between persons whose feelings, tastes, and habits
offer a certain resemblance, and who ean communicate
freely with each other. Comparatively few hearing
people know the deaf and dumb language, and a very
small proportion of those who do would marry a deaf
and dumb person, unless some advantage were con-
nected with the union : indeed it may be that in the
whole of a deaf and dumb man's hearing acquaintances
not one eligible female knows his language ; it is evi-
dent therefore that he will generally seek a wife amongst
those of his own class,, and in London, the instances
existing and known to us where this intermarriage
has taken place stand in the proportion of four to one
where the woman can hear. Again, not many hearing
men would marry a deaf and dumb woman without a
consideration as a " make-weight." Only four cases of
this kind are known to us in London. Besides, we
have been told by very respectable deaf and dumb
females that they would not marry a man who could
hear ; they would not have confidence in him ; he
would not take the trouble to tell them everything •
perhaps he would have hearing friends come to see
him, and then they would be shut out from the general
conversation ; they would prefer one like themselves —
one who had no advantages over them. We argue r
nevertheless, that the best wife for a deaf and dumb
man — if he can find one and persuade her to marry
him — is a woman who can hear, one who has acquired
a ready means of communication with him, sympathizes
with his affliction, and so is prepared to take upon her-
self a larger share than ordinary of the management of
their family and joint affairs, which must devolve upon
her on account of her husband's deprivation ; and the
higher and best educated class, as a rule, do obtain
this kind of wife ; their eyes are open to the advantages
of such a help-meet. As one of them has written :
80 Marriages Among Deaf-mutes.
" When a man marries, he ought to try and supply-
that wherein he is deficient ; a deaf and dumb man
wants some one to hear and speak for him.... A deaf
man taking a deaf woman to be his companion would
find the various hindrances which he meets in his
daily life doubled and increased ; he would be obliged
to go to some one else than his wife to interpret or to
explain for him." The hearing, sisters or daughters of
deaf and dumb persons would be most likely to fulfil
the necessary requirements ; and it so happens that the
hearing wife of one deaf-mute gentleman, who is much
praised by her husband, had a brother similarly afflict-
ed, of whom she was very fond ; but death snatching
him away from her love, she took the opportunity of
supplying his place by a husband from the same class,
-and an excellent wife she has proved. We also know
other similar cases with the same happy result. But,
returning to the general rule prevalent amongst them
of intermarriage amongst themselves, we can bear
testimony that when two are well-matched, intelligent,
and of amiable disposition, and especially if they act
from Christian principle, they get on together exceed-
ingly well. There is, however, some disadvantage as
regards their children ; they cannot receive early in-
struction in spoken language and moral training : they
may learn vulgar expressions from other children, and
use them towards each other in their parents' presence
without their cognizance, and in this they are unable
to correct them. Some of these disadvantages are,
however, soon overcome by an early attendance at
school. The children of the deaf and dumb soon learn
to communicate with their parents by signs, and it is
very amusing to see little things two or three years
old beginning thus to make known their wants to
them. So that, taking all these circumstances into
consideration, we may consistently state that deaf-mute
intermarriges are not advisable in those cases where a
suitable hearing partner can be obtained, but they are
not wicked, nor are they to be prohibited, lest a worse
thing come to pass. Still this precaution should be
taken by the deaf and dumb, not to choose those in
whose families any hereditary tendency has manifested
Marriages Among Deaf-mutes. 31
In Canada and the United States there are manv
deaf-mute unions. ^Perhaps no country in the world
shows so many deaf-mute intermarriages as does the
latter country, and many of them have produced deaf-
mute children, but it has not been found necessary to
prohibit or discourage them on that account. There
are about a dozen deaf-mute married couples in the
Dominion of Canada, and most of them have families,
but none, as far as we have been able to learn, have
Blind Deaf-mutes. — Laura Bridgman, — Mary Brad-
ley. — Joseph Hague. — Anecdotes — Death of Hague..
— Other Cases on Record.
There are, happily, but few human beings who in
addition to the loss of hearing are also deprived of
sight, and are therefore at once deaf, dumb, and blind.
These appear to be so entirely cut off from the outer
world that the position seems at first sight beyond the-
reach of amelioration ; and was until a comparatively
recent date believed to be so,, even by those whose
ingenuity was daily taxed to find means to reach the
minds of those who are deprived of hearing only.
The case of a deaf, dumb, and blind youth, the son
of a Scotch minister, attracted a large amount of attention
early in the last century. Curiosity was excited to
watch the habits of the youth, in order to see whether
there was not some loophole by which light might be
made to penetrate the darkness within, but nothing
could be devised which yielded any result.
It was not until the wonderful revelation of the case
of Laura Bridgman by the late Charles Dickens was
made in his " American Notes" in 1842-3, that attention
was again awakened to the consideration of blind deaf-
mutes, and the possibility of reaching and developing
a mind so completely isolated. The statements made
by Mr. Dickens were of so extraordinary a character
that few persons — especially those engaged in edu-i
eating the deaf and dumb — could give them credence,
and many persons concluded that he must have been
imposed upon, or that the narrative was only " the
tale of a traveller," related to astonish and amuse.
82 Blind Deaf-mutes.
About the time when "American Notes " appeared, a
member of the Committee of the Institution reported a
case of complete blindness and deafness, in a child
named Mary Bradley, which had come under his
observation at the infant department of the Parochial
Schools of the Manchester Union. This excited the
curiosity and kind interest of the head master, Mr.
Andrew Patterson, and it was proposed he and the
member of the Committee should examine the case and
see if there were any possibility of doing anything
Prom all that could be ascertained about the child, it
appears she was then about seven years old, and that
she had lost her sight and hearing about three years
previously, having been abandoned by her mother in a
damp cellar while suffering from some virulent disease.'
The mother, it was understood, was a loose woman,
who had left her husband and subsequently her ehild,
and had taken to evil courses. It was believed, at the
time the child was received into the Institution for the
Deaf and Dumb, that both parents were dead.
Having succeeded in getting the child placed in his
charge, Mr. Patterson had next to decide upon some
mode of proceeding with her, and the obvious course
seemed to be to watch her habits, and to endeavour to
adapt his own course and the efforts of those around
her to them. With this view she was left for some
days to her own resources, in order that the bent of her
inclination might be seen and judged of. Finding her-
self in a new position, she was occupied for a time in
becoming acquainted with the locality, and the persons
and things by which she was surrounded. She made
no attempt to make known her wants by signs, as is
usual in the case of the deaf and dumb. If she required
help her habit was to shout and 6cream, and as her
utterances were by no means agreeable, every one was
interested in relieving her wants. Since her loss of
hearing and sight she had been in no position in which
6igns could have been understood, had she made any,
but it never seemed to occur to her to do so. In faet,
she was at the time one of the most uncouth and wild-
looking objects it is well possible to conceive. She
had recently had her head shaved in consequence of
Mary Bradley. 33
some disease in the skin of the scalp, and with a crouch-
ing, groping attitude, she had more the appearance of a
scared and timid animal seeking some mode of esacpe
from danger or unpleasant position, than of a human
being endowned with a rational soul.
The first step in teaching seemed to be to make her
acquainted with the names of the objects around her.
With this view, then, Mr. Patterson selected those
objects which differed materially in form from each
other, viz., a pen, a book, and a slate As the visible
letters could not be submitted to her, the signs used by
the deaf and dumb were given on the fingers instead,
Mr. Patterson giving the signs by touching her fingers
with his, in the proper form. Thus the pen was placed
in her hands ; she felt its firm, elastic quality, etc. ; then
the letters pen were signed on her fingers, and an
endeavour made to indicate to her that the signs meant
the object which she had been handling. Ihe other
words book and slate were indicated in the same way;
"but she failed to understand the connection between
these arbitrary signs and the things handled. It never
seemed to occur to her that the signs had any reference
to the objects.
In the case of children who can hear or see, the,
sounds of the letters or the forms of the signs are at
once a key to their application to the object named,
but in this case there was no clue to the meaning, as
at present they had neither sound nor form to her
mind. An hour or two, day after day, was devoted to
the accomplishment of this first and all-important step ;
but the labour seemed entirely without effect. No
progress towards success was made, and every day
the work had to be commenced anew, and unfortunat-
ely was followed by the same results as on the previous
days, without any progress. , Every means were tried
to arrive at some degree of success. The appliances
were varied as much as possible, but still apparently
without any intelligence on the part of the pupil. Hex
kind and assiduous teacher could only devote to her
the hours in which he could be spared from the routine
work of a large school. He continued these attempts
for four or five weeks, and almost in despair of any 1 '
good results began to think of abandoning his efforts,
34 Blind Deaf-mutes.
at least for a period ; when all at once, like a sudden
burst of sunshine, her countenance brightened up one
day with a full intelligence beaming in it. She had
found the key to the mystery ! Placing her hand on
each of the objects separately, she gave the name of
each on her fingers, or rather signed them on the
fingers of her teacher as her mode of describing them.
Thus the first step was attained at last, and the chief
difficulty cleared away for overcoming the next. It
was a comparatively easy matter now to proceed and
enlarge the vocabulary of the names of the objects
most familiar to her. Mr. Patterson then cut out the
letters of the alphabet in cardboard, and gummed them
to a sheet of stiff pasteboard, so that they stood in
relief, and could be sharply felt and distinguished from
each other by the fingers. By this means she soon
became acquainted with all their forms, and mentally
associated — say pen — with the signs upon her fingers
and the object which these signs represented. Her
progress now became daily more and more evident.
She took great delight in her work, and with the
limited time at Mr. Patterson's disposal, it was difficult
to keep pace with her desire for the knowledge of
names. From these she was taught the quality of
things. "When new words of this kind were intended
to be taught, the objects were generally placed before
her, as an illustration of comparison ; for instance — a
large book and a small one, a light object and a heavy
one, thick and thin, rough and smooth, hard and soft,
sweet and sour. Objects possessing opposite qualities
were placed within her reach, and she very readily
acquired the words to express them. Thus the work
went on step by step, eA-ery day's lesson being a
preparatory one lor the next day. Verbs were taught
much in the same way, the word being given with the
action: standing, sitting, walking; eating, drinking,
laughing, crying, &c. , generally in the form of the
present participle, and in connection with a noun,
as being an easy change from the adjectives — as, a boy
standing, a girl crying, &c.
At length the great inconvenience presented itself
of the want of a lesson-book adapted to meet the case.
In order to supply this want, a case of type for print-
Mary Bradley. 35
ing in relief was obtained, and some lessons were
printed, which were readily deciphered by the pupil
through the sense of touch. It was, however, soon
discovered that the operation of composing the type
was an exercise which was not only A'ery amusing to
her, but also very instructive. A little box was
constructed in which she could arrange the type in
sentences, &c. , which were dictated to her by natural
signs, the teacher using her hands in the same way as
he would use his own to sign similar sentences to a
seeing deaf child, and this became a never-failing
source of interest. It made her familiar with the
various modes of construction, — the greatest difficulty
which the deaf and dumb have to encounter. Every
new word was at once applied to its appropriate
The effect of the dawning of this new world of
intellectual life upon the temper and disposition of
Mary Bradley was, at this point of her education, very
unmistakable. She had hitherto been of a fretful,
impatient, and very irritable temper, crying and scream-
ing without any apparent cause; but as she made
progress in her studies, this irritability gradually soft-
ened down, and she became daily more and more
subdued in disposition and manner. Still at intervals,
more or less prolonged, she would have fits of fret-
fulness and passion, which would end in a few hours
in tears, when she would again resume her quiet and
placid manner. These occasional outbursts would
appear to have been a necessity with her. They
seemed like an accumulation of humours which would,
burst out and expend themselves, and thus give relief
for a time. Mr. Fatterson and the kind friends around
her soon discovered that during these paroxysms, the
best and simplest course was to leave her to herself
The time occupied in teaching her to write was
enormous as compared with that expended on children
possessing their proper faculties. It was a work of
incessant and interminable repetition ; but Mr. Patter-
son had resolved that it must be done, and it was done
Having once learned to write, she was enabled to
correspond with friends at a distance, and to inter-
#6 Blind Deaf-mutes.
change letters with her sister in deprivation across the
Atlantic, Laura Bridgman, who was kind enough to
send her a tablet, such as she herself used. Now it must
be distinctly understood that the results thus happily
arrived at were attained under circumstances very
different to those in which the education of Laura
Bridgman was carried on — not to mention the great
difference between the condition of Mary Bradley
when she was rescued from the degrading and cruel
associations of a pauper school, and the domestic
surroundings in which Laura Bridgman had been
brought up in a bright and loving home, under the
care of a tender mother. From this home she was
transferred to the charge of Dr. Howe, and by him
placed under the special care of the lady teacher whose
sole duty and pleasure it was to see to her every want,
and act as her instructress. Mary Bradley, on the
contrary, could only receive continuous attention for
any length of time from Mr. Patterson when the duties
of a large establishment permitted : and then he could
only devote, what would otherwise have been
his leisure, to her instruction.
At the period when Mary Bradley had been under
instruction some four or five years an application was
made to the Institution for the admission of a little boy
suffering under the same sad privation.
Joseph Hague was the son of a deaf and dumb
mother who had been educated in the Institution. He
Was born deaf, and became blind before he was two
fears old. At the period of his reception in the School
for the Deaf and Dumb he was eight years old, and at
bnce became the fellow-pupil of Mary Bradley.
On his admission he was allowed a few days to make
himself familiar with the new position in which he
was placed. It was very amusing to watch his
explorations and to see the ready intelligence with
Which he made his observation.
Joseph Hague showed a considerable amount ojf
determination and combativeness when he met with
opposition. On one occasion he was walking up the
school-room, in which there are two or three iron
pillars to support the floor above, and forgetting that
Joseph Hague. 37
such was the case he struck his forehead against one
of them and recoiled from it. He rubbed his forehead
for an instant, and then walked deliberately up to
the pillar and kicked it violently.
This boy, being born deaf and dumb and having
been under the care of his mother, herself a deaf-mute,
was thoroughly acquainted with the signs used by deaf
children of his age, and consequently the first steps in
the course of his instruction were easily overcome.
The progress made by the two far outstripped any
anticipations which could have been formed on the
subject from what had been previously effected by Mr.
Patterson's attention to Mary Bradley only. The
knowledge of things, gradually led on to those of a
more abstract character, and enabled their kind teacher
to show the relation between cause and effect, and by
means of things of a lower nature to reach the higher.
A knowledge of Scripture History and of God's care
for His chosen people was imparted.
During the progress of these children in their
instruction, many points peculiar to themselves and to
their condition could not fail to manifest themselves.
One peculiarity, which is perhaps more striking than
any other, was the appearance of a perception which
seemed like a new sense. The quickness of appre-
hension and understanding of what was passing around
them seemed so complete and so accurate, that it was
impossible to conceive how the mind grasped the
information unless such was the case. The boy was of
rather a mischievous disposition, and was fond of amus-
ing himself by teasing and annoying his companion;
but it is a singular fact that the moment Mr. Patterson
entered the room he became conscious of the fact, and
instantly ceased his amusement. No doubt he had
become accustomed to the vibration caused by the
opening and shutting of the door, and by the step of
his teacher, for he could distinguish the latter from
that of every one else ; and would frequently stop Mr.
P. in the room to ask a question. In addition to this,
however, both these children would receive impressions
when the sense of feeling could not be acted upon, and
they would be aware of facts which could not reach the
mind by any of the known senses. For instance, they
38 Blind Deaf-mutes.
would sit together and hold long conversations upon
each other's fingers, and while doing so Mr. Patterson
would approach them with the greatest caution, and in
a manner which could produce no vibration, either
from his step or the movement of his body, yet they
became immediately conscious of his presence, ceased
their conversation, and one would inform the other
that Mr. Patterson was behind them. This occurred
over and over again in order to test their intelligence;
every precaution and means being taken to approach
without their knowledge, but always with the same
results. It was quite impossible to discover by what
mode they discovered the fact of the presence of their
instructor ; all that could be ascertained was that they
did discover it at once.
As a further illustration of mental peculiarity it may
be stated that they had an instinctive perception of
character. "When strangers approached them they at
once put out their hands to touch them, and having
-done so, would either feel attracted to them or repulsed
by them. In the former case they w T ould soon put
themslves on the most familiar terms with them ; in the
latter they would hold themselves aloof. It was the
same among their school-fellows. With some, the boy
especially, was on the most familiar terms, and could
take any liberty with them, making them the slaves of
his will ; while with others he held little or no inter-
course, and never voluntarily associated with them.
The sense of touch in these two children was
exceedingly acute. Every person in the Institution for
the Deaf and Dumb was known and recognised by
them by the touch, and though many schemes were
adopted occasionally to puzzle them, yet they always
discovered it and named the right person. On one
occasion the late Bishop of Manchester, Dr. Prince Lee,
having brought some friends to visit the Institution,
wished to test the boy's ability to find any one of his
companions who might be named. He did so without a
single failure, though they were all mixed together, and
not in their usual places in the school. The boys were
then made to exchange clothes, and one of them pre-
sented himself to be named. Hague at once named
the boy who belonged to the clothes. On being told
Joseph Hague. 39
that he was wrong, he proceeded to manipulate the
hands and features, and without hesitation gave the
right name. After failing in the first instance his
euspicions,were awakened, and he could not be deceived
a second time.
One would imagine that persons so shut out from the
influences that are apt to excite and stimulate Ability
in dress, would be quite free from any weakness of
this kind ; but it is not so. Mary Bradley was quite a
connoisseur in dress, and was fond of feeling the
dresses and trimmings of those within her reach, and
giving her opinion. On one occasion two ladies,
dressed in every respect alike, both as to pattern and
material, came under her manipulation. She said, or
rather signed, that they were very nice, but that one
dress was much better than the other. The ladies said
she was mistaken, as they were exactly alike, being
made of the same material, cut from the same piece of
fabric. She, however, insisted that they were not alike,
and that -one dress was much better than the other.
No difference could be detected by any one else ; but
Mary Bradley was found to be right. From subsequent
inquiry it was discovered that the person from whom
the material was bought had not sufficient of the one
piece for two dresses, and had opened another piece,
supplied by the same manufacturer, from which he cut
sufficient for one of the dresses, believing it to be in
every respect the exact quality of the other. From th&
delicacy of the touch of this deaf, dumb, and blind srirl r
the fact was detected that one piece was of superior
quality to the other.
Having acquired a tolerable facility in basket-making,
and becoming impatient under the restraints of the
Institution, Hague became desirous of leaving. Both
his parents were living, and could understand him
and converse with him : it was therefore thought
advisable that he should quit the school and the
surveillance of his worthy and kind teacher, Mr.
Patterson, who had providentially been enabled to do
so much for him ; and be placed under the supervision
of his father and mother.
Mary Bradley, without a relative known to any one
connected with the Institution, remained in it and
40 Blind Deaf-mutes.
regarded it as her permanent home. Indeed, she was
generally considered as an indispensable part of it !
Her conscious life had been, as it were, awakened
within its walls and developed in its school room.
She scarcely knew of any world beyond — at least, not
in this life. During the last seven or eight years of
her earthly existence she suffered much from abscesses,
which formed in various parts of her body. She
gradually wasted away and died June, 1866, in her 26th
year, firmly believing in a future life of happiness
through Christ, leaving her bodily privations and
afflictions behind her. Nothing can be clearer than
the fact that the problem of the education of the deaf,
dumb and blind was as fully solved in her case as in
those of the more widely and popularly known
instances of Laura Bridgman and Oliver Caswell, at
the Massachusetts Institution.
Joseph Hague died in the Sheffied workhouse on the
28th February, 1879. His parents had removed there
on his leaving school at Manchester. At that time
the writer was employed at Sheffield to organize the
Association for Adult Deaf-mutes, having for its object
their religious and secular instruction. Joseph Hague
attended these services regularly and took great
delight in them. This continued until 1869, when
circumstances arose which became necessary to remove
him to the workhouse, where he was placed under the
special care of an assistant. He was a good basket-
maker, and partly supported himself after leaving*
echool. He continued to work at that trade while in
Union, where special privileges were allowed him by
the guardians. His greatest pleasure was to be allowed
to attend the Sabbath services, his deaf-mute friends
taking a delight in conveying instruction to him upon
his fingers, and in other ways administering to his
wants, including taking him to their homes ; and even
the poorest ungrudgingly shared their frugal meal
with him. A great portion of his time whilst in the
Workhouse was occupied in reading and committing
to memory portions of Scripture, and repeating upon,
his fingers the portions so learnt, and in this manner
he bad acquired a store of Scripture knowledge that
would put to shame many of his more favoured fellow-
MARY BRADLEY AND JOSEPH HAGUE,
The Blind Deaf-Mutss.
Joseph Hague, 41
creatures. On these occasions he would have a number
of words committed to memory of which he did not
know the meaning, and would most anx^sly seek an
explanation of them. It was also his delight to read
the biography of great and good men, which books he
obtained from the lending library for the blind;
and it is a most remarkable fact he rarely forgot
any portion of such works, and was very conscientious
in all his dealings.
Departed this Life on tfie 28th February, 1879.
WallM In by Deafness, Dumbness, Blindness, all 1
Could Life exist beneath that dreadful pall?
It did. Life, Love were there : The living Soul
Beat hot against the bars that held it in,
Striving among the best, to reach the goal,
And, through Chbist's Death, immortal Life to win.
With such a chain he laboured, on his way :
From such a chain the Soul has burst away :
The heart which throbb'd with love, hope and fear ;
The Mind which strove within that dungeon drear :
The Eyes which longed in vain for earthly light,
See face to face, in God's most holy sight,
Kind Death hath bid the captive soul go free,
Where the Deaf hear, Dumb sing, and Sightless see.*
It is very fortunate that the number of blind deafr
mutes in the world is very small. There are nearly a
million blind people in the world and over 800,000
deaf-mutes, but the number of blind deaf-mutes
probably does not exceed 50. Of the very few who'
are on record, the following may be mentioned :
1. James Mitchell, born 1795, near Inverness,
2. Hannah Lamb, London, 1808, accidentally burned
to death. Uneducated.
3. Laura Bridgman, born at, Hanover, N. H., 21st
Dec, 1829. Educated by Dr. Howe, still living (1879.)
4. Oliver Caswell, South Boston. Educated at same
place as Bridgman. 1841.
* Isaiah xxxv, 6, 6.
42 Blind Deaf-mutes.
5. Lucy Eeed, South Boston, only partly educated.
6. Mary Bradley, born at Manchester and educated
there, 1845. Was a correspondent of Laura Bridgman.
7. Joseph Hague, the school-mate of Mary Bradley,
also born at Manchester. Died 28th February, 1879,
8. Catherine St. Just Teskey, born in 1848 in Lower
Canada, partly educated at the Protestant Institution
for Deaf-mutes at Montreal in 1871,
9. James H. Coton, pupil in the New York Institution
for Deaf-mutes, 1878.
10. Richard S. Clinton, pupil in the New York Insti-
tution for Deaf-mutes, 1878.
Sweden is reported to to have 20 blind deaf-mutes,
an enormous number for any country in Europe. In the
New York Institution there is a curious case of a boy
deaf and dumb and without arms, who is being success-
fully instructed by Dr. Peet, who has taught him to
write with a long pencil attached to the stumps of
The Comparative Happiness of the Deaf and the
A brief contrast with the blind will show the
difference of the effects of the two afflictions. Speaking
generally, blindness is an affliction which operates
most disadvantageously upon the physical part of man ;
but deafness, on the contrary, affects the moral and
mental condition ; for reckoning the affliction as equal
in extent, i. e. the loss of one sense — sight in the one
case, and hearing in the other — there is that great
difference in its nature. So the deaf and dumb have
the advantage over the blind in the use of their
physical powers, and the blind have the advantage over
the deaf and dumb in their capability of mental develop-
ment and acquisition of the knowledge of moral
principles. This deprivation in the case of the
uneducated deaf-mute produces isolation. Having no
means of communication with the outer world, they
Comparative Happiness of the Deaf and the Blind. 43
must depend upon the eye for all the knowledge they
can gain of men and things, and while they remain
uneducated this cannot extend beyond the limits of
their own individual experience, In this state they
are unacquainted with their names, ignorant of their
own immortal nature, of the G-od who made them, of
the Saviour who redeemed them, and of the various
and wonderful works of man. Bat the blind, on the
contrary, are open to all these intellectual advantages;
though shut out from the light of day, the light of truth
and knowledge can shine into their hearts and
illuminate their path ; and yet their physical infirmity
being greater than that of the deaf and dumb, calls
loudly for sympathy and relief, by putting into their
hands the means by which they may gain a livelihood,
and also acquire knowledge for themslves ; as well as
the greater infirmity of the deaf and dumb, affecting
their moral and intellectual advancement, demands for
its relief a medium of intercourse with mankind, by
which they may gain ideas, and become acquainted
with everything that is necessary for their temporal
and eternal welfare.
Dr. Howe, whose experience lay mainly with the
blind, and whose success in educating Laura Bridgman,
the deaf-mute and blind girl, which gained for him
world-wide renown, gave his views on the subject in
his last annual report, which cannot fail to interest the
public generally, as it throws much light on a subject
so little understood.
" I have reflected," says the learned Doctor, "much
in order to decide whether blindness or deafness
(followed, as it must be, by mutism) interferes, most
with a person's happiness, and I have inferred, from
consideration of the sources of happiness and from
acquaintance with many persons of each class, that
deafness is a more formidable obstacle in the way of
normal development, and does necessarily lessen the
amount of human pleasure and enjoyment more than
blindness ; and that, although sight is preferable for
those who have to pursue manual labor fer their own
support, yet hearing, the mother of speech, is far more
important for the development and improvement of
the intellectual and moral faculties, and for the enjoy-
44 Comparative Happiness of the Deaf and the Blind.
nient which comes from their exercise, and from the
various relations of love and affection. The senses are
the instrumentalities for human development, and for
all moral and intellectual action and reaction among
men. The eye is the key to sensuous enjoyment, and
to a certain range of knowledge of material things ; but
the ear is the real queen among the senses, and she
brings us into those moral and social relations and
affections from the indulgence of which the purest,
highest, and most lasting happiness is derived. This
a priori inference is confirmed by pretty extensive
acquaintance with blind persons and with deaf-mutes.
I have found most of the former not only unrepining,
but cheerful, affectionate, confiding and very social:
while most of the latter seem to be always conscious of
a defect or an infirmitv, which acts as a bar to intimate
relations with their fellew-men. Speech, in its widest
and best sense, is to them unattainable ; and although
the kind of speech which they learn seems marvellous,
and is to some extent pleasurable, but its imperfection
always keeps them in that sort of isolation from other
men in which imperfect knowledge of our language
keeps the foreigner who sojourns among us. We do
not converse freely. He translates his native language
into ours, and we translate ours into his ; and much of
the thought and attention of each is occupied in making
the translation. We do not know a foreign language
as we know our vernacular tongue until our thoughts
clothe themselves spontaneously in it; that is until we
think in it and dream in it.
It is indeed a plain fact, and one well known by
teachers of the two classes, that the blind are cheerfuj,
hopeful, sociable, and confiding, while the deaf-mutes
are inclined to melancholy, to be uncommunicative,
unsocial, jealous, suspicious, and dissatisfied with their
lot in life. It is, indeed, a terribly hard one out of
which to extract that kind of happiness which is " our
being's end and aim."
Besides, the happiness, of most persons is greatly
affected by their conventional standing, that is, by the
kind of regard in which they are held by others ; and
the blind as well as the deaf are peculiarly sensitive on
this point. It is, indeed, much a matter of convention-
Comparative Happiness of the Deaf and the Blind. 45
ality, and it differs in different countries, and changes
with time, but always exists. The infirmity of blindness
is seen and understood instantly by everybody. All
pity a blind man, and are eager to show him sympathy.
The natural, indeed the best, way to do this is by speech,
for by that you express your sympathy. The blind
value this sympathy highly, and are ever ready for
conversation, although they wish it to be on a footing of
equality, and they especially dislike to be considered
as objects of charity.
They chat with you, argue with you, joke with you,
and enjoy the spirit and fun of conversation as much
as -you do. Indeed, the chief source of their pleasure
in life is intimate oral communication with other
persons, and learning their sentiments by words, or
else by listening to reading. It will be perceived that
the deaf are, to a great extent, necessarily cut off
from all this.
The infirmity of the blind strikes you at first
sight, and brings pity to your heart and tears to
your eyes. But it requires a long time to be fully
aware of the extent of the infirmity of the deaf, and
much reflection to understand its deplorable nature
Hundreds and thousands of blind persons are found who
are in intimate relations with seeing people, and some in
every age have risen to eminence in music, in letters, in
legislation, and politics, while there is hardly one deaf-mute
whose name is known in history.
Every consideration, and a multitude of instances,
show that the infirmity of the blind is lighter than that
of the deaf; but in spite of all these the great majority
of people if offered the alternative of blindness or
deafness and mutism, would unhesitatingly and eagerly
accept the latter.
As regards deaf-mutes being inferior to the blind in
intellectual achievement, it must be remembered that
the art of teaching the former is barely a century old,
and has yet hardly passed out of the experimental stage.
In fact an efficient method of reaching and training the
reasoning faculties of deaf-mutes is still more or less of
a desideratum, although progress is being continually
46 History of the Protestant Institution for Deaf-mutes.
made in this direction, and the time will no doubt
come when with a perfect system it will be possible
for the deaf-mute to vie with those in full possession of
their senses in the intellectual arena; there are very
few good teachers of deaf-mutes new who are not
striving with might and main to attain that happy end.
History of the Protestant Institution for Deaf-mutes.
— Its Early Struggle. — The First Public Examina-
tion. — The Census Returns of Deaf-mutes in the
Province of Que"bee. — Joseph Maekay and the
When the writer of this sketeh * took up his residence
at Montreal in the year 1868, there were four schools in
Canada to meet the educational requirements of some
3,500 deaf-mutes scattered over the Dominion, viz:
The two Roman Catholic institutions at Montreal ; the
Nova Scotia Institution at Halifax ; the Upper Canada
Institution at Hamilton. The former were the oldest,
having been founded in the year 1848, under the
patronage of the Roman Catholic Bishop of Montreal
and Seminary of St. Sulpice, (the most powerful and
wealthy Roman Catholic corporation in America.)
One of these Roman Catholic Institutions is for boys,
and the Rev. A. Belanger is the principal. The other
is for girls, and is conducted by the nuns. The Insti-
tution at Halifax was established in August, 1856. and
was long conducted by Principal Hutton. The
Institution in Upper Canada was begun at Toronto in
1858 by Mr. J. B. McGrann, who may be regarded as
the pioneer of deaf-mute instruction in the western part
of the Dominion. In 1868, Mr. McGrann was struggling
manfully to save his school from hopeless bankruptcy
and ruin. The education of deaf-mutes was a new
departure to the sturdy pioneers of that period in
Western Canada. Some there were who admitted the
importance of educating deaf-mutes, but doubted its
possibility, others had no objection to the trial being
made, but protested against being taxed to support
*This historial sketch was originally written for the American Annal,
. and has been revised and enlarged for the present work.
Its Early Struggle. 47
"dummies" while at school. The writer could not
help sympathizing with Mr. McGann when he said, " I
am obliged to buy my fuel on credit, and keep a pass-
book with my grocer and baker. My furniture has
been twice distrained -for rent and taxes." Mr.
McG-aim's spare moments were occupied in diffusing
information respecting the deaf and dumb, and in
convincing the public that their education was not only
possible, but absolutely necessary. This, coupled with
many examination tours, had the desired effect. The
government of Ontario came to Mr. McG-ann's assistance,
and in 1870 opened the present Institution at Belleville,
under the direction of Dr. W^ J. Palmer who had to
resign in September,. 1879, and was succeeded by
It will thus be seen that provision was made for the
education of deaf-mutes in the western part of the
Dominion, in the Maritime Provinces, and for the
Roman Catholic deaf-mutes in Lower Canada; but
nothing had been done for deaf-mutes of the English-speaking
population, or Protestants, in Lower Canada. Many of
these were the descendants of the early settlers, the
United-Empire loyalists. None of their deaf-mutes had
received any instruction, except in one or two cases,
where the parents possessed sufficient means to send
them to Hartford or to England for instruction. 1 he
writer had not been long a resident in Canada's
commercial capital before the necessity of a school for
Protestant deaf-mutes was forcibly brought to his notice
by the father of one of them, who appealed with
sorrowful heart on behalf of his grown-up deaf-mute
son, totally uninstructed. Others were soon discovered,
some of school age and some past the prime of manhood
and womanhood, with no school in the whole Province
where their parents could have them taught according
to their own religious belief. The writer saw a new
field of labor opened for him. His experience for some
years as an assistant under the late Dr. Baker, of the
Yorkshire Institution for Deaf-mutes, and as a
missionary to adult deaf-mutes in different parts of
England, amply fitted him for a career of usefulness
although surrounded by very great difficulties. A long
correspondence on the subjcet of a school for Protestant
48 History of the Protestant Institution for Deaf-mutes.
deaf-mutes in Lower Canada took place in the Montreal
Daily Witness. Information respecting the numbers of
deaf-mutes in the Province was diligently sought for ;
influential Protestant gentlemen engaged commenced,
science and education were consulted, and their aid
asked for and obtained. There were no reliable returns
of vital statistics published for the Province, and the
public seemed to know no more about deaf-mutes and
deaf-mute instruction than they did in Ontario when
Mr. McGann began his uphill labors. Many doubted
the writer's deaf-dumbness on account of the easy way
he handled the English language and his literary
productions. But it was at last ascertained, as near as
could be. that there were about 3500 deaf-mutes in the
Dominion, some 1300 being in Lower Canada; and,
judging by the relative proportions of Protestant and
Eoman Catholic populations in the Province, there were
probably 200 Protestant deaf-mutes, and of these about
75 were of school age, viz., between 7 and 25 years. (The
-census returns of Canada of 1870 give Lower Canada
1669 deaf and dumb.)
The information thus gathered and the knowledge
■on the subject of deaf-mute education possessed by the
writer were published in the Witness. More corres-
pondence ensued, and several applicants for education
were received by the writer. Further inquiry revealed
the fact that the provincial legislature of Lower Canada
before confederation had voted $80,000 for purposes of
education of deaf-mutes, but this sum has not yet been
paid out, and the record will probably be all that will
now remain in connection with it.
During this correspondence in the public prints;
which lasted more than a year, (1868 to 1869,) many
of the benovelent Protestants in the city of Montreal;
ever alive to the wants of suffering humanity, were
quietly watching the issue, and taking notes of the
facts brought to 'light. A few of the most prominent
of them came forward and took up the subject. Mr.
McGann, then principal of the Ontario Institution at
Hamilton,' was invited to' i Montreal to gj ve an exhibi-
tion of the progress of some of his pupils, and an
address on the subject of deaf-mute instruction ; this
took place at the close of 1868.
Tho Hod. Secretary-Treasurer of the Mnckay Institution for Protestant Deaf-
Mutes, and a Staunch Friend of Humanity.
Its Early Struggle. 49
On. the 7th of January, 1869, a public meeting of
those interested in the good work took place in
Montreal, and the following prominent Protestant
citizens formed themselves into a society to establish
an educational institution for Protestant deaf-mutes
in Lower Canada :
Ladies. — Mesdames Andrew Allan, P. Eedpath, J.
W. Dawson, (McGill University,) Major, Bond, Cramp,
Fleet, Moff'att, Brydges, Browne, Workman.
Gentlemen. — Mr. Charles Alexander, (president,)
Thomas Cramp, (vice-president,) Fred. Mackenzie, (hon.
sec.-treas.,) Thos. Workman, John Dougall, (proprietor
of the Montreal Witness,) Wm. Lunn, Gr. Motfatt, J. A.
Mathewson, J. H. R. Molson, Hon. J. J. C. Abbott, E.
Carter, Q C, P. D. Browne, W. H. Benyon, I. F.
Barnard, John Leeming, and S. J. Lyman.
With -this influential committee great and rapid
progress was made, and next day, January 8, another
meeting was held. It was resolved to ask for legis-
lative aid and a charter, and to appeal for public
subscriptions. Mr. Mackenzie, the secretary-treasurer,
reported that he had made diligent inquiries respecting
the probable number of Protestant deaf-mutes in the
Province, and believed there were over 200. The
committee resolved to rent a suitable house and grounds.
At this juncture, Mr. W. H. Van Vliet, mayor of
Lacolle, some 40 miles south of Montreal, made an
offer to the committee of their choice of three splendid
sites for the proposed Institution. Any of these lots
would make a very generous donation to any chari-
table institution; but the committee thought that to
remove the Institution so far away would deprive it
of the contributions from the benevolent of Montreal,
its main source of support.
On the 19th January, 1869, another meeting was
held, at which it was reported that the handsome
sum of $5,950 had been subscribed, collected chiefly
by Mr. Thomas Cramp, the vice-president; the
other members of the committee being otherwise
engaged, could not then assist in collecting, or the
amount would doubtless have been much larger.
50 History of the Protestant Institution for Deaf-mutes.
The work of the hon. secretary-treasurer was no
sinecure. He sent out hundreds of circulars to ministers
in all parts of the Province to obtain the names, age,
sex, circumstances, etc., of all Protestant deaf-mutes in
the Province. It may be of interest to the profession
to learn how far the circulars succeeded in this mixed
community, where the Protestants form only a small
minority of the population (about 300,000).
On the 26th January, 250 circulars to Protestant
ministers had brought 23 replies, reporting only 5
deaf-mute and 5 blind Protestants.
On the 10th March it was stated that 112 replies to
circulars had been received, reporting 38 deaf-mutes,
8 of school age ; of 34 blind returned only 5 were of
school age. More circulars were sent out.
On April 30th, 210 replies were leceived, reporting
57 deaf-mutes, 35 males and 22 females. Their ages
were : Between 16 and 21 years, 8 males and 5 females,
in all 13 ; between 21 and 30 years, 8, being 4 of
The committee now wished to know —
1. Between what ages can deaf-mutes receive
2. Whether both sexes should be educated together ?
3. Whether the blind and deaf-mutes should be
educated together ?
These questions were submitted to several experts,
including the writer. All recommended the education
of the sexes together, but advised a separate school for
the blind, and named the ages at which deaf-mutes
could be educated as from 7 to 25 years.
On the 15th December, 1869, another meeting of the
committee was held, which the late Rev. Collins Stone
of Hartford attended by invitation. He expressed
pleasure and satisfaction with his interview with the
writer and his testimonials, and recommended them to
make a trial with a small school under the management
of the writer, with his wife as matron. He kindly
offered to allow the writer, and his wife to spend a
few months in the Hartford Institution to acquire a
knowledge of the system of instruction, if necessary.
Its Early Struggle.
He continued to be a warm friend of the Institution
up to the time of his lamented death, which took place
a few months after his visit to Montreal.
On the 4th May, 1870, another meeting of the
committee was held at which there were present Chas.
Alexander, the president, John Do'ugall, Proprietor of
the Daily Witness, F. Mackenzie, the hon. sec-treasurer,
Dr. Scott, and the writer, and it was unanimously
Tesolved that the writer should at once look for a suitable
house and grounds, and open school in September.
THE FIRST PROTESTANT DEAF-MUTE SCHOOL BUILDING.
A house with ample grounds, in a very healthy
locality, just outside of the city limits, (Cote St.
Antoine,) was obtained in July, at an annual rental
of $400, with option of purchase within five years for
$8,000, the extent of ground being 58,080 square feet.
The house contained accommodation for about 20
pupils, but very scant provision for teachers: The
double doors of the parlor were removed, and the
room was used as school-room, chapel and sitting-room
for the pupils. Baths were put in and a few altera-
tions made, in order that we might make the best of
the small accommodation the house afforded.
52 History of the Protestant Institution for Deaf-mules.
. At this meeting- the committee learned that their
attempt to obtain legislative aid for the school had
failed, but they were not discouraged, and made
another application for a grant, feeling they had the
same right to aid from the State as their Roman
Catholic fellow-citizens had for their Institution. The
government at last made the Institution a grant of
$1,000, which has since been increased to $1,729..
On the 15th September, 1870, the Protestant Insti-
tution for Deaf-Mutes opened its doors, for the first
time, for the reception of pupils. During that month
and the following October, 11 pupils, 9 boys and 2 girls,
were admitted. Of these six paid full lees, ($90,) and
five were free.
On the 1st November, 1870, the Institution was-
formally opened to the public by the Protestant Bishop
of Montreal and MetrQpolitan of Canada, in the presence
of an assemblage of prominent ladies and gentlemen, and
another charitable institution was added to the long list
for which Montreal is famous.
During the first session of the new school sixteen
pupils were admitted, thirteen boys and three girls, one
of the latter being a young woman deaf, dumb, and
blind. She was in a most deplorable state. Her
constitution was enfeebled by long confinement and
neglect, and at times she was subject to fits of un-
governable temper; at other times she showed signs
of great intelligence, and some progress was made in
learning the manual alphabet, with the aid of raised
letters, which were procured for her benefit. After
being a few weeks in the Institution she was able to
communicate her wants in signs, and could go about
the house unaided. Her health, however, began to fail,
and her parents contemplating a removal to the West,
and it being found that the Institution in its early
infancy had not the necessary accommodation and staff
of teachers which her case required, her parents were
desired to remove her.
The numerous duties which devolved upon the
principal* and matron were such as to require all their
time and constant care from early morning till late at
night. Eight hours a day for six days a week were
Its Early Struggle. 53
spent in the school-room; three hours a day were
devoted to teaching different kinds of work about the
place, and to training; the pupils in habits of industry.
Many a night the principal had to sit at the desk
attending to correspondence, and the monthly accounts
and reports for the meeting of the board of directors.
It was, indeed, a year of real hard work, care, and
anxiety. The matron, with the aid of a single female
cook and the two girls, did all the domestic work of the
Institution, and took upon herself the instruction of a
class of pupils of a low grade of intellect. The
Principal taught two classes and the drawing-class after-
school-hours, besides acting as teacher of trades,,
steward, and supervisor. On Sundays a sabbath-school
was held, and three hours were devoted to religious-
instruction by means of the sign-language.
The system of instruction in this Institution is the
combined method. Natural signs, writing and the
manual alphabet (both single and double-handed) are
the chief instruments depended on for teaching. In so
small a school great diversity of intellect prevailed, -
which rendered it necessary to divide the pupils into
several classes, and the ingenuity of the teacher was
taxed to the utmost to devise methods of reaching the
dormant minds of the pupils. Some of its. friends
suggested that the articulation method as carried on in
the excellent school at Northampton, Massachusetts,,
should be adopted in this Institution, but they soon saw
that with such pupils it was an impossibility. The
object persistently kept prominently in view during
the whole session of the first year, and ever afterwards,
has been to give deaf-mutes a knowledge of language
(written or otherwise) by whatever methods long
experience has suggested as the best and most certain,
and to inculcate habits of industry, with moral and
The public interest in the success of the Institution
during the first year was very great, especially towards
the close of the session ; visitors were numerous, almost
daily, which obliged the Principal to leave his classes to
show them about the place and answer their questions
by the slow process of writing ; but the good work was
perseveringly continued until the day arrived for the
54 History of the Protestant Institution for Deaf-mutes.
first public examination of the pupils, which was held
in the Mechanics' Hall in Montreal on the 13th June,
1871, and was presided over by J. W. Dawson, LL.D.,
F. R. S., principal of the McGill University. There
was a very large audience present, including many of
the most prominent men of the city. As this was our
first appearance before the public, and many drawbacks
had attended the session just then closed, the teachers
and pupils felt no small distrust as to the results of their
labors. They were, however, so kindly received and
assisted by the president of the Institution, (Chatf.
Alexander,) and the secretaTy-treasurer, (F. Mackenzie,)
that they were encouraged to do their best on the
occasion, which was attended with much suceess. At
the close of the exhibition, Dr. Dawson asked the
audience to adopt a written recognition of the services
rendered by the teachers, and their thorough approval
of the system of instruction adopted by the Institution.
This proposal was heartily approved by the audience,
and the chairman drew up the following words,
read them to the audience, and presented them to
" Ms. Widd-.
" The audience desire uie to say that they aTe very
much gratified with what they have seen, and desire
to encourage you in yottr good work, and to express
their approval of the pupils.
An examination tour through the Province was now
resolved on. The secretary-treasurer, F. Mackenzie,
Esq., accompanied by the Principal and two of the
advanced pupils, visited the largest Protestant towns in
the Province, and held public meetings and examinations
of the pupils at each place. At all of these places the
greatest interest in the work was shown by the public.
Collections to defray expenses were taken up at the
close of each examination. A very enthusiastic
reception was given us at Quebec city, where three of
the pupils resided and took part in the examinations.
A subscription was immediately taken up to providfe
the Institution with a printing-press and founts of tpye
by a few friends in Quebec and the handsome sum of
$267.53 was handed to the secretary-treasurer.
Its Early Struggle. 55
During the following session a lady was engaged as
an assistant teacher, and to instruct semi-mutes in
articulation, which relieved Mrs. "Widd, the matron, of
her duties in the school-room, and enabled her to devote
all her time to her own family and the domestic cares
of the Institution. A carpenter was engaged to instruct
the boys in the use of carpentry tools, and the teaching
of printing was undertaken by the Principal. The
reports of the Institution and other matter were
executed by the boys after school hours.
The first session of eight hours daily in the school-
room having proved too exhaustive for the teachers
and too wearisome to the pupils, the time in school
was reduced to five hours for five days a week,, and
an hour a day was given to articulation with three or
four promising pupils, and an hour twice a week was
devoted to drawing. This change speedily showed
beneficial results. The health of the pupils and teachers
improved, and their intellectual progress continued to
be quite as satisfactory as previously.
On the 20th January, 1873, the Governor-General of
Canada, Lord Duffijrin, and Lady Dufferin visited the
Institution, and conversed with the pupils in the
double-handed alphabet, much to their delight and
Tbe board of managers felt the urgent need of larger
and better premises for the Institution, as every year
since the first public examination the number of pupils
admitted into the small house used by the Institution
exceeded 20, and on one occasion there were no less
than 27, besides the principal, matron, assistant teacher, 1
and two domestic servants, crowded together in ^he
building, which could only comfortably accommodate
15 at most ! Many applications for admission were
refused or postponed. The difficulties of the board
of managers in raising funds to meet current expenses
were very great, the Institution having to depend for
support on public subscriptions, the fees of paying
pupils, and the $1,000 grant made by the provincial
legislature, which ail together were never sufficient to
keep the Institution from debt by current expenses.
The salaries of the teachers (principal and matron
included) did not exceed $600 a year, and the utmost
66 History of the Protestant Institution for Deaf-mutes.
The First President of the Mackay Institution for Protestant Deaf-Mates, and the
Steadfast Friend of the Poor and Unfortunate.
Mr. Joseph Mackay Comes to the Rescue. 67
eteonomy and frugality were practised in all expendi-
tures. Still, the finances of the Institution continued
in rather an unsatisfactory state. The managers tried
from time to time to raise funds for enlarging - the
building, or to Buy more land and build elsewhere.
One lady manager, Mrs. C. J. Brydges, whose active
beneA'olence is well known in Canada, managed with
no small trouble to collect $2,061 towards a building
fund; another,, Mrs. P. Holland, collected $500 for the
same object, and others of the board of managers exerted
themselves in the same direction ; but not much
success attended their efforts on account of great
financial depression which prevailed at the time.
The census returns of Lower Canada were published!
in 1873-'4, and showed a total of 1669 deaf-mutes— 883
males and 786 females ; but every attempt to find the
number of those who were of Protestant parentage
failed, and these returns proved of comparatively little
value to the Institution. New cases of Protestant deaf-
mutes continued to be reported to the principal and
president of the Institution, but nothing particular
was done to induce them to enter the Institution on
account of its financial condition and the want of
Matters became worse in 1876, when failures in
trade and financial depression were universal. The
Institution was without funds and much in debt. The
prospects of a larger building and better times were to
all appearance as far off as ever. The managers felt
much discouraged, and to keep the Institution going
the secretary-treasurer and the president advanced
money from their private funds. As the dark cloud
gathered over the prospects of the future of the
Institution, and " while we were trying," as the worthy
president of the Institution stated at the last annual
meeting, "to make both ends meet, in the time of our
anxiety God raised up a friend to help us in the very
way we wished — that is, to extend our efforts by means
of a larger building — and put it into the heart of an old
and respected fellow-citizen, Joseph Mackay, Esq., to
give us a splendid piece of land, and to erect thereon at
his own expense a stone building capable of accom-
modating 80 pupils and their teachers."
Address by Mr. Joseph Mackay. 59
The corner-stone of this magnificent gift was laid on
the 6th June, 1877, in the presence of a large number
of ladies and gentlemen, on which occasion this kind
and Christian Mend of the deaf and dumb — who will
ever keep his name in grateful remembrance — address-
ed the assembly as follows :
" Mb. Chairman, Ladies and Gentlemen : The
Institution for which this building is being erected has
had as yet a brief career of usefulness. Among its
founders and friends may be numbered leading citizens
of Montreal, besides ladies and gentlemen, and I think
special mention should be made in this connection, of
our worthy chairman, Mr. Charles- Alexander, our
secretary-treasurer, Mr. F. Mackenzie ; Mr. Thomas
Cramp, Mr. Andrew Allen, Mr. Dougall, senior, who
is always doing good wherever he goes, Mr. Widd^
the principal of the school, as well as the governors
and managers, who have done good work. The work
of the school was commenced in 1870, with sixteen
pupils ; the largest number yet in attendance was.
twenty-five, during the session of 1874 and 1875. The
total number connected with the school from its for-
mation is forty-one ; some of these have continued
through several sessions, and others have remained for
only a few months. Of the twenty-two in attendance
last session, seven have paid full fees, five partial fees,
ten were free pupils. Of the education given, it may
be sufficient for me to say that it is under the able and
judicious direction of the principal and his assistant,
and embraces intellectual and spiritual culture, as well
as instruction in several of the useful arts of life. The
pupils are prepared, when they remain a sufficient
time in the Institution, to make their way in this
world, and have their minds and hearts turned to the
, higher realities of the world to come. What a blessing
to the afflicted ! And thus the founders and supporters
are made a blessing, as stewards of God's bounty.
The government of our Province has given a small
annual grant in aid of the Institution, but its sxipport
has been chiefly drawn from private benevolence.
Feeling deeply the importance and value of the work
done, and wishing to promote its success and extension.
I resolved some time ago, as announced in a letter
60 History of the Protestant Institution for Deaf-mutes.
addressed to you, Mr. Chairman, on the 24th of No-
vember last, to eTect this building, and to place it and
-(he ground attached to it in the hands of trustees, to
-be used by them and their successors for the education
of the Protestant deaf and dumb of this Province.
Several conversations with Mr. Widd, who spoke of
the immediate necessity of larger buildings, and the
difficulties in obtaining funds, led v to this decision,
especially when on mentioning it to a relative, the reply
was ' Why not do it yourself? ' I only add, that I trust
and pray this building may be completed without any
accident or untoward incident, - and be carried to a
speedy and successful completion ; and for years and
generations to come the Institution may, through the
'Divine favor, prove a source of manifold blessing to the
afflicted class whose good it seeks, and may never lack
generous, warm-hearted friends, and wise and godly
•instructors to carry on the work."
The board of managers resolved, as a token of their
gratitude to Mr. Mackay for his noble gift, to change
the name of the Institution to " The Mackay Institution
for Protestant Deaf-Mutes." It is erected on one of the
most picturesque sites on the Island of Montreal com-
manding a view of the St. Lawrence, the Mountain,
being visible from so many points, being situated on
Cote St. Luc road. It was originally intended to erect
a building to accommodate about 50 pupils, but after
much careful thought and study, Mr. Mackay decided
to construct a much large building, to accommodate
from 80 to 100. The style of the building is Gothic,
having four facades rock-faced courses, with trimmings
and openings, wateT-table belts, courses, and bauds of
cut stone. The building is $5 by 50, and three
stories in height, having a well elevated basement and
mansard roof, ornamented. There are two towers,
one at each end, and the main entrance is in the
centre, with a handsome flight of stone steps, portico,
etc. The basement is 10 feet high; the floor being
level with ; the ground, will afford abundance of light
and air. There are three entrances ; one on the north
side for baker, butcher, etc.; and one for girls and one
for boys to the play-ground, with doors opening into
the hall- and. -wide corridor, and refectory 43 hj 20,
Thfi New Building. 61
with openings on three sides, with serving-room,
teachers' dining-room, kitchen, scullery, laundry,
larder, cook's pantry, store-room, lavatories, fuel cellar,
and two boilers for heating the building with hot
water. The ground floor is 15 feet high, and
Contains an octagonal vestibule 12 feet in diameter,
Opening to a hall '20 by 14, having a handsome stair-
case. six feet in width in the centre, and two returns of
four feet. On the left are two rooms, a class-room
87.7 by 25, and the boys' recreation-room 37-6 by 16.
Both these rooms can be made one for meetings, etc.,
by sliding the doors out of the way which divide them.
On the right is the office and board-room, with safe,
16.6 by 16, and teacher's room, 28 by 26, and corridor
between them, with staircase and private entrance
leading into the girls' recreation-room in front, 20 by
16, and in rear a class room 19 by 16. The
second story is 12 ft. 6 in. high, and contains a
library 18 by 12, two bedrooms, or dormitories, each
16 by 16, and ten bedrooms, each 11 by 16, girls, arid
boys' lavatories, hall in the centre, with corridor 8 ft.
in width, and staircase at each end. The third
story is 12 ft. 6 in. high, and contains dormitories,
hospitals, and lavatories, nurse's rooms galleries, etc.
To secure thorough ventilation and warming, the
Ventilating and smoke flues, each 3 by 2 ft., are
Carried up through the centre of the building, with
register at the floor and ceiling on each story. The
heating apparatus consists of two of Spence's hot.
water boilers, connected so that they can be wotked
separate or together, with coils in all the rooms,
halls, corridors, dormitories, etc. The work, which
is of the most substantial Character, was designed and
Carried out under the superintendence of John Jamea
ikowne, a Montreal architect
62 Opening of Mackay Institution by Lord Dufferin.
Opening of the Maekay Institution by Lord and Lady
Dufferin. — The Ninth Annual General Meeting-
Congratulatory Address. — Deaf-mutes at Divine
Service. — Press Notices. — To Parents of Deaf-
mutes. — The Audiphone, &c. — An Appeal for the
The new Institution building was formally opened on
the 12th February, 1878, by Lord Dufferin, the late
Governor-General of Canada, in the presence of a
brilliant assembly. Among whom were the Hon. Mr.
Letellier, the late Lieutenant-Governor of Quebec, Hia
Lordship the Metropolitan of Canada, Bishop Oxenden,
Dr. Dawson, Principal of McGill University, Lieut-
General Smyth, U. S. Consul-General Dart, C. J.
Brydges, Chas. Alexander, Alderman Clendinneng,
Capt. Smyth, Joseph Mackay, Edward Mackay, Rev.
Dr. De Sola, Col. Dyde, and about 400 others. The
Institution was very tastefully and elaborately decorated
for the occasion. Mr. Joseph Mackay made the deed
of donation with a few appropriate remarks.
An address was read to Lord Dufferin by Mr. Charles
Alexander, the president, welcoming him as the patron
of the Institution. An address of welcome from the
pupils was also read, and one o£ the pupils,. Miss Jessie
Macfarlane, presented a bouquet of beautiful flowers
to Lady Dufferin, who smiled pleasantly, stooping
down to receive it?
Lord Dufferin, the patron, made a very appropriate
reply to the addresses, praising Mr. Mackay's liberality,
and contrasting the former establishment which he
had visited some years before, with the present fine
building. He then declared the Institution opened for
the purposes for which it was erected, and the visitors
took their departure after inspecting the building.
The ninth annual general meeting of the Institution
was held on the 23rd October, 1879, Mr. Joseph
The Ninth Annual General Meeting. 63
Mackay, the president and founder, after whom the
Institute is named, occupied the chair. Amongst other
friends of the Institute present were His Lordship the
Bishop of Montreal, Messrs. C. J. Brydges, Fred.
Mackenzie, Honorary Secretary, Charles Alexander, A.
W. Ogilvie, John Sterling, F. W. Thomas, Revs. Messrs.
Johnson, Stevenson, Canon Norman, Lindsay, Principal
Mac Vicar, and Principal Dawson, of McGrill College,
and Dr. Scott.
The proceedings were opened with prayer, after
which the President, in opening the meeting, said :
Ladies and Gentlemen : — The Managers of this Institu-
tion have much pleasure in meeting the friends of the
deaf and dumb, on this the ninth anniversary, to hear
ihe report of the past year and to make resolves for the
future. Since we last met here education has been
going on steadily under Mr. Widd's able management.
Indeed, to my knowledge, this is the only Institution
\yhere a deaf-mute occupies the position of Principal,
filling the office with satisfaction to the Board. We
have at length been able to secure the services of a lady
teacher of articulation, Miss Littlefield, of Boston, who,
we are assured, will be a valuable addition to the staff.
We have much reason for thankfulness for the measure
of support this Institution receives and the interest
evinced in its success, yet a large increase is necessary
if we would continue this valuable work, remembering
we have no endowment fund and only a small Govern-
ment grant, together with some pupils' fees, to meet our
increasing expenditure, and whilst giving your means
let me urge you to visit the Institution to see for your-
selves the progress made, and to give encouragement to
the teachers. We have here three ehildren from one
family and a fourth to come. What sacrifice would not
any of you make to restore speech and hearing to an
afflicted child of your own ? Then, as a thank-offering
for these gifts Providence has bestowed on you, increase
your liberality. We had hoped to have been able to
put up workshops much required, indeed had plans
ready and tenders received, but had to abandon them,
and instead ended our financial year, unfortunately,
with a deficit. In view of this, our Managers resolved
that our Principal should visit the Townships and
64 The Ninth Annual General Meeting.
personally solicit subscriptions. His
tifying, considering the universal depression, and we
believe he has created an interest which will be per-
manent. We have to thank our friends in Quebec, as
well as in the Eastern Townships, for their valuable
contributions. I will now call on our Honorary
Secretary to read the reports.
The Secretary-Treasurer, F. Mackenzie, then read
the Financial Statement, the Annual Reports of the
Board of Managers, of the Principal, and that of the.
Examiner of the School, the Rev. Canon Norman,
M.A., D.C.L., all of which will be found in the Report
of the Institution;
The Teacher of Articulation, Miss Littlefield, of
Boston, Mass., gave an exhibition of the results of six
weeks, instruction in articulation by Bell's Visible
Speech, which was highly gratifying, being in every
instance very creditable. It was intended also to have
an examination of the pupils generally, but as the time
was so limited and there was a large amount of business
before the meeting it was dispensed with.
The usual resolutions on such occasions were pui
and passed, and eloquent speeches were delivered by
Rev. Hugh Johnstone, Principal Dawson, Rev. Mr,
Stevenson, Rev. Canon Norman, A. W. Ogilvie, Esq.,
and others. The pupils then gave "God Save the
Queen," in the sign-language, and the benediction 1
plosed tha proceedings. The visitors then inspected the
work of the pupils and the building generally, and
expressed themselves thoroughly satisiied with
The following address from the pupils to Mr. Widd
Was read to the audience by the Secretary-Treasurer,
While Mr. Johii Maciiaughtoil read it on his fingers to
Mr. Widd. It was then handed to him by the President,.
Mr. Mackay. Mr. Widd made a very suitable and
feeling reply in the sign-language. The address was
beautifully got up in colors and penmanship by Mr.
Macnaugnton, the border being made up of the
prettiest autumnal maple leaves, painted in all their
gorgeous colors, and was very much admired, both a£
a Work of art and for the sentiments it expressed : —
The Principal of the Mackay Institution for Protestant Deaf- Mutes.
Mr. Wield became totally deaf, and consequently dumb, between the ages of thrco
and four years by scarlet fever. He was edicated in the Yorkshire Institution
icr the Deaf and Dumb at Doncaster. under Vr. Baker, where he also received
his valuable training as a teacher. Ho was fcr some years employed as a
missionary to the deaf and dumb in various parts of England, and founded
associations fcr the meral and religious instruction of the adult deaf and dumb
in Sheffield and other English towns. In 1367 he came to Canada to ameliorate
the condition of his afflicted tro;hren in that country. The results of his efforts
are to be seen in the substantial bui.ding erected by Mr. Joseph Mackay fcr
the instruction of Protestant deaf-mutes in Lower Canada.
Congratulatory Address. 65
"TO MR. THOMAS WIDD:
" Dear Teacher and Guide, — Permit us, your affectionate
" and grateful pupils, to congratulate you on your entrance
" upon your tenth year of principalship of the Institution
"for the instruction of Protestant Deaf-mutes of the
" Province of Quebec, and pray God to bless you with
" health and strength to continue your noble and self-denying
" labors for many years to come. You have dispelled the
" gloom of intellectual night in which we long lay groping,
" and brought us into the broad sunlight of knowledge.
" How well you have performed your work of educating us
" let our progress and proficiency attest. With kind and
" loving hand you have led us step by step on our path to
" knowledge, with patience borne with our waywardness,
" and firmly, yet gently, you have corrected our errors and
"shortcomings. We gratefully acknowledge all the good
"you have done us, and pray God to reward you, for we
"cannot. Our limited knowledge of language fails to
" adequately describe the extent of our respect and affection
" toward you, our dear and honored teacher. Therefore we
" beg you to accept our hearty congratulations.
" In the name of my fellow pupils."
"Mackay Institution for Protestant Deaf-Mutes,
"Montreal, 23rd October, 1879."
The following is an address from Mr. J. Outterson, a
former pupil of the Institution, who happened to be in
Montreal on a visit, and wished to say a few words
expressing his gratitude for benefits received in the
"Mr. Chairman, Ladies aud Gentlemen.
" As an old pupil of this Institution, allow me to make
a few remarks upon the benefits I have derived from
the admirable system of education pursued in it. When
I compare my former state and condition before I
became a pupil with my present, I am filled with
amazement and wonder, and consider myself a new
66 Deaf-mutes at Divine Service.
man lifted into a new world. I can now take my place
in society and hold converse without difficulty with
any one. I can now read my Bible with an intelligent
and thankful appreciation of its blessed truths.
" I and all Protestant deaf-mutes of the Province of
Quebec have great reason to bless and thank Him,
' who hath formed both tongue and ear,' for bringing
Mr. Widd across the Atlantic from England to found
this admirable Institution (my alma mater, I am proud
to say), and putting it into the hearts of you, Mr.
Chairman, Ladies and Gentlemen of the Board of
Managers, to stand by him, and cheer him on by your
counsels and pecuniary assistance and support.
" Having myself been benefited so much, I feel very
anxious that all my fellow Protestant mutes of this
Province should also share in its benefits. I would
suggest that a more energetic effort be made to raise
funds throughout the Province, so as to admit more
pupils by bringing its claims more and more before
the benevolent and charitable public. I shall always
be happy to do all in my power to aid the school."
The following account of Divine Service in the
Mackay Institution is from the Argenteuil Advertiser
(Lachute), of Dec. 17th, 1879, and will give some
idea how the Sabbath is spent by Protestant deaf-mutes
at that school :
" On Sunday, the 14th of December, we had the
pleasure of being present at and witnessing divine
service amongst the pupils of the Mackay Institute for
deaf-mutes, Cote St. Luc Road, Montreal. Our readers
are aware that through the munificent liberality of
Joseph Mackay, Esq., a palatial building has been
erected for the education and training of the Protestant
deaf and dumb of the Province of Quebec, where some
thirty or forty children are acquiring an education
which will fit them to become useful members of
society. Not only is the secular education of the
pupils attained in this institution, but their moral and
religious training is also carefully attended to. Every
Deaf-mutes at Divine Service. 67
Sabbath afternoon divine worship, in the sign language,
is held in the school-room, conducted by Mr. Principal
Widd. The service is open to adult deaf-mutes, as
well as to the pupils of the Mackay Institute, on the
occasion above referred to, the mute congregation
assembled in the school-room. The order of service
was written on the black-board, and a Bible lay on the
desks before each pupil. It was plain to see from the
expression which pervaded each countenance that all
were fully conscious of the solemnity of the occasion.
At three o'clock Principal Widd took his stand, and
the congregation rising, he spelled on his fingers, verse
by verse, the lxvii. Psalm, (Deus Misereatur) explaining
also by pantomime, or signs, the meaning of each verse
as he proceeded, so that the youngest pupil could not
fail to understand ; then was given by minister and
congregation, the Lord's Prayer, in sign language, and
so graphic were the gestures that one totally unac-
quainted with this style of language, could not fail to
understand the meaning of the signs made. This was
followed by the spelling (reading, shall we say) of the
lxxxii. Psalm, as lesson, also translated into pantomime.
Then followed the Second and Third Collects of the
Evening Service. After this a short sermon was
preached, of which we give a condensed report.
Principal Widd took for his text " How excellent is
thy loving-kindness, God," (Ps. xxxvi., 7) and then
in graphic pantomime, said :
" God's greatest and most excellent attribute is love.
It is made manifest to us in all His works — in the
light which surrounds us, in the air we breathe, in the
food which He causes the earth to bring forth abund-
antly for our sustenance. Like as a loving earthly
father cares for and provides for his children, so does
our Heavenly Father care for us. His watchful care
preserves us also from all dangers, both seen and
unseen. His greatest love, however, is made manifest
in the gift of His Son Jesus Christ, who was offered up
a sacrifice in our stead, — who died for our sins, and
who is now our Intercessor before the Throne of God.
We ought all to love God, because he has manifested
His love for us in so gracious and effectual a manner ;
and if we do love Him we shall exemplify it in our
68 Intellectual and Industrial Training.
daily lives, by our praises to Him and obedience to
His word and His laws ; we shall hate sin, and love
the good ; we shall study His holy word, the Scriptures,
daily, and shape our lives in accordance with their
holy lessons. But if we say we love God and do not
obey His laws, then He will regard us as hypocrites,
and will most surely punish us. His mercy is everlast-
ing, His power infinite, and He will ever listen to our
prayer for help. Let us, therefore, to-day raise our
thoughts in love to God, the Father in that He gave
His Son Jesus Christ to be an offering in our behalf,
and let us pray the Holy Ghost to shed upon us His
benign influence, which alone can make our lives
worthy the name of Christians. Above all, let us ever
remember with devout gratitude, the grand old truth
contained in our text, which ascribes the perfection of
excellence to the loving-kindness of God."
" It was touching to witness the play of expression
which flitted over the faces of his congregation, as the
preacher proceeded with his discourse. There was
absolute silence, not a word spoken or a sound uttered ;
yet the audience (if we may use the word) received
advice, warning, encouragement. It was a scene of
great interest, and one of which but few hearing and
speaking persons can imagine the importance. The
service was concluded with the benediction, having
lasted about one hour."
The Montreal Witness; of Dec. 12th, 1879, contains
the following article regarding the intellectual and
industrial training of youth :
" The educators of deaf-mutes have discovered, earlier than those who
have the training of youth who have all their powers, that the best results
are attained by the training of the constructive along with the intellectual
faculties. It is only by degrees that most educationists are learning that
man's work upon the face of the world is done with his hands and that his
happiness and usefulness are both very much curtailed by the suppression
of the faculties which prompt to manual work. Drawing is perhaps the
best, although by no means the only form in which the use of the hands
can be introduced into schools, and this is happily now a part of the course
m the schools of Montreal. We hope to see the day when Kindergarten
exercises will form a part of all early school training, to be followed in
later years by some form of constructive labor which shall occupy a good
Press Notices. 69
part of the time. We know some who send their boys to practise a trade
if only for an hour or so daily. This course is to be much commended.
It is quite usual in Germany, where even Royal and Imperial princes
learn trades. Mr. Widd, Principal of the Mackay Institute, makes an
earnest appeal for workshops in which to educate his pupils to trades.
The printers' trade is the only one which is at present taught there. He
points out that it is very hard to get situations for deaf-mute boys who
have no trade. Employers shrink from the work of teaching them, but
like to get them as journeymen after they have learned. Another conside-
ration, and this one applies also to those who have all their faculties, is
that the period of a mental education has to terminate early for those who
have still to learn their trade, and might last much longer if the trade was
being acpuired at the same time, or at least the faculties required in
mechanical operations being trained. We hope the necessary funds for
establishing these workshops will not be lacking."
In noticing the historical sketch of the Mackay
Institution in the American Annals of the Deaf and Dumb,
October, 1877, the Editor of the Deaf-mute Journal of
New York says : —
" One cannot pick up the October Annals, look at the fine building in
the frontispiece, and then read the accompanying account of the Mackay
Institution for Protestant Deaf-mutes without the conviction that now and
then a deaf-mute does not live in vain. Mr. Thomas Widd, the Principal
of the Institution, is a deaf-mute, and the only deaf-mute principal of an
institution of that kind in America. There are two or three principals of
day schools, but only one of an institution.
" Going to Canada late in the sixties, Thomas Widd toiled a couple of
years in that deserted field before he could arouse enough enthusiasm to
make a beginning. And when he did, and managed to live from year to
year, slowly increasing his little flock the while, well-nigh his only
resource was individual charity. Our annals hardly present a parallel of
such work, the present enlightement and the numerous flourishing examples
all considered. In his brief history of the institution, he tells us that he
worked eight hours a day in the school-room, he taught two classes out of
school hours, he was principal, steward, supervisor, and teacher of trades',
and the hours of night were diligently utilized to complete such duties as
the day required. He had to house, in a building comfortably accom-
modating but fifteen, besides himself, one teacher and two domestics,
twenty, and at one time twenty-seven pupils. And as to finances and
salaried rewards, the matron, teachers and himself between them, got the
immense aggregate of $600 a year ! But Thomas Widd is a deaf-mute, and
is working for the good of other deaf-mutes. Incidentally, he tells us that
circumstances at first compelled him to use the eight-hour system, but as
soon as he could, with commendably alacrity, he discarded it and sub-
70 Advice to Parents of Deaf-mutes.
stituted five hours, which change speedily showed beneficial results in the
health and improvement of the pupils, and the physique of the teachers
"In the fall of 1876, a citizen of Montreal, Joseph Mackay, Esq., who
had long been watching the course of the institution and the labors of Mr.
Widd, came forward and said he would erect a building of stone on a fine
plot of ground, capable of accommodating 80 pupils, with the necessary
officers. This has been done, and the structure is now ready for occupation.
"We fail to recall a parellel case in deaf-mute institutions anywhere.
The fine Clark Institution, tn Northampton, Mass, owes its prosperity to
the munificence of a gentleman whose name it bears ; but the money came
as a legacy, bestowed when the owner had no further use for it. Besides,
it was given to promote the interests of a peculiar system — that of
articulation. Mr. Mackay is alive and can daily see the fruits of his good
deed. His benevolence is not marred by any hobby, but is a generous,
whole-souled help, and, if length of days is a boon to be coveted, may he
live a number of years equal to the dollars he has given
" The facts as they are, are very suggestive. Mr. Widd is the only deaf-
mute principal of an institution, as far as we know, and that institution, of
all others, has been favored in an unparalleled way, in a country, too, where
such things are rarely looked for. The instance stands out brightly in a
back-ground that increases its proportions — it adds one more triumph to
the few vouchsafed to deaf-mutes."
To Parents of Deaf-mutes. — When parents
discover that their child does not seem to hear
or to try to talk like ordinary children, they begin
to suspect that it is deaf and dumb, and search
for the best remedy they can find for such afflictions.
Deafness is one of the most difficult to cure of human
ailments, and there is probably not a single genuine
cure of total deafness on record. Unprincipled
professional men and quack doctors have paid special
attention to cases of deafness and reaped an abundant
harvest. They have made the partially deaf totally
deaf, and those in whose cases existed no hope whatever
have been made to undergo untold suffering and great
In nearly every case of the pupils in the Mackay
Institution (including all those admitted since 1870),
quack and other remedies have been resorted to for
the recovery of hearing, but without the slightest
benefit. In the case of total deafness from protracted
The Audiphone, SfC. 71
illness or accident, it is always found that the auditory
nerve is either paralysed or destroyed, and nothing
short of a miracle can effect a cure. The wisest and
only safe course to pursue in all cases of deafness in
children or adults is to consult a reliable and respect-
able physician and follow his advice.
The veteran teacher of deaf-mutes and founder of
the Ontario Institution, Mr. J. B. McGann, gives his
testimony on this subject (which coincides with that
of every other person of experience with deaf-mutes),
as follows :
" In my travels in Ontario,. I found that in nine cases
out of ten quack remedies have been applied to effect
the restoration of hearing and of speech. Some of
these remedies proved to have been of a very painful
nature in their operation — others harmless and absurd,
and all without any beneficial results. I have yet to
learn, notwithstanding the rigorous process- of scientific
investigation which marks the 19th century, that there
is a cureable property for the congenitally deaf. Dr.
Wilde, the distinguished Aurist, Dublin, writes in his
treatise on the ear, thus : ' Except by miraculous inter-
ference, I do not believe that the true congenital mute
was ever made to hear, and those who lose their hearing
so early in life as never to have acquired speech, come
into the same category.' Dr. Stand, the eminent
Physician of the Royal Institution for the Deaf and
Dumb, Paris, who made more post mortem examinations
to ascertain the cause of deafness than any other man,
says, ' That in most cases of profound deafness the
cause was paralysis of the auditory nerve — the nerve
of hearing was dead, and medical means have no effect
on the dead.' 1 "
Early in 1879 an instrument called the Audiphone
was invented in Chicago to enable the deaf to hear and
the dumb to speak. It made a few persons, who were
only slightly deaf, hear better, and straightway the
news flew to every quarter of the world that the deaf
would be no longer deaf and the dumb no longer
dumb, and that schools for deaf-mutes were things of
the past. The inventor of this creation of science no
doubt reaped a large harvest by its sale. Many
purchased it only to be sadly disappointed and
72 The Audiphone, 8fC.
to mourn the loss of their money; others felt slight
vibrations of sound by the help of the instrument and
imagined they could hear ; but as far as can be learned,
the number of those who have found the audiphone of
any use are very few and far between, and those are
persons who have but very slight deafness. Those
inventions profess to make the totally deaf hear, which
is as absurd a statement as to say that spectacles can
make the blind see ! The Audiphone had scarcely been
in the market six months before the Dentiphone and
the Tangiphone appeared, and claimed to be able to
do even greater wonders than their predecessor. The
Magniphone, by Prof. Hughes, is another wonderful
invention, which, we believe, appeared before the
Audiphone. It claims to enable a person (not deaf, of
course), to hear the foot steps of a fly on a table, or the
touch of a hair when rubbed against a pen. This
instrument is probably the best and most valuable that
has been invented to aid the ear, but the inventor is
more honest and does not profess to be able to aid the
totally deaf by the instrument. Speaking on this
subject, the Editor of the Toronto Silent World remarks :
" We fully endorse Mr. Widd's opinion with regard to
the Audiphone. "We have little doubt that the so-called
invention is a mere catch-penny device for extracting
money from the pockets of the credulous. A moment's
consideration will show that to hear a sound correctly
is a very different thing from merely hearing a sound
simply because it is loud, and similiarly, to feel a
vibration with the teeth is a very different thing to
distinguishing the nature and quality of such vibration,
which is absolutely necessary to give any value to it
as a conveyance of language. To put a parallel case :
If a mirror is cracked through in every direction, or if
it be rubbed over with whiting, no" light will ever
make it take a correct image of any object ; it might
catch in the first instance a vague fragmentary reflec-
tion, in the other a dull gloom, but for any practical
purpose as a mirror it is absolutely useless. If any
invention were to be of any service at all, it would be
the Magniphone of Professor Hughes, which is said to
enable a person to hear the sound of a fly's foot on a
board, or the crackling of a feather rubbed against a
-TfR7- TOE* A I
JOHN DOUGALl, Sent-.,
Tho ProprVcr of tho Montreal and New York Daily Witmrs. Tl:e cnrliest
and most staunch fr'.end and advcc:ite of Mr. Widd, to wlioin l.c is i niicr many
great obligations ft r his wise counsels and kind cncoi r.igoaient in his .-araggle to
start the Institution fcr Protestant deaf-uiutcs in the Pri.va.ce U' Qi elce.
An Appeal for the Deaf-mute. 73
stick. But inasmuch as the deaf-mute has not in him-
self the right form of apparatus, or there is some part
of it wanting, neither this nor any other form of
magnifying sound or conveying it to the auditory
nerve has ever been devised that will benefit deaf-
mutes, or is likely to be until the resources of science
shall enable physicians to construct by artificial means,
and insert into the cavity of the ear such appliances as
will supply the parts wanting either from congenital
causes or from ravages of disease. A very unlikely
thing in our opinion to happen, but an absolute sine
qua non to hearing with the least correctness."
AN APPEAL FOR THE DEAF-MUTE.
IThe following beautiful appeal, written for " Diogenes," aoomio paper published
in Montreal about twelve years ago, has been the means of obtaining many
kind friends for deaf-mutes and supporters of their schools. The name of the
author is unknown.]
Deaf 1 Not a murmur or a loving word
Can ever reach his ear. The raging sea,
The pialing thunder, and the cannon's roar
To him are silent— silent as the grave.
Not quite : for, ever, when God takes away
He gives in other shape. The tramp of feet,
The crash of falling things, the waves of sound
Strike on a deaf man's feeling with a force
To us unknown. Vibrations of the air
Play through his frame, on sympathetic nerve*
Like fine-strung instruments of varied tone.
Dumb I Not a murmur or a loving word
Can ever pass his lip. The cry of rage,
The voice of friendship, and the vows of love
Freeze on his tongue, so impotent of sound.
But deem not that intelligence is null
In Uiat doomed mortal. Gaze upon his eye —
A, speaking eye 1 — an eye that seems to hear
E'en by observing, and that gathers more
From flickering lights and shadows of a face
Than duller minds can gain from spoken words.
The age of miracles hath past ; but man
Can summon art and science to his aid,
And cause the faculties of sight and touch
To act imperfectly for speech and car.
74 An Easy Method of Teaching Deaf-mutes at Home.
The deaf-mute seems, by Nature, formed to be
A delicate artificer, and skilled
In subtle operations of the hand.
He can be taught to read, and thus to learn
The story of the Present or the Past,
Or by quick signs to share his inmost thoughts
Chiefly for those for whom he yearneth most,
His fjllow snff rers I Nay, it sometimes haps
That men, like Kitto, 'reft of senses twain,
Have, by their lore, electrified the world,
And won the crown of literary fame.
Spare not your gifts, ye wealthy of the land,
To these afflicted brethren. Ye to whom
Heav*n giants that sweetest of all blessings, health,
And the keen joys of each corporeal sense,
Aid those to whom these blessings are denied,
And shed some sunshine o'er their gloomy lives.
Let us all tread, as closely as we can,
In the blest footprints of that Holy One
Who went about, forever doing good,
Making the dumb to speak, the deaf to hear.
An Easy Method of Teaching Deaf-mutes at Home.
For the benefit of those who desire to do all they can
to instruct their own children before sending them to
an Institution, the following description has been
prepared of the method to be pursued. It is hoped
that all having mute children will spare no pains in
their home instruction, and however little progress
may be secured, it will still be of value to the child.
In some cases, it may be weeks, or months, before th©
child is able to write a single word, but if the plan
here explained is perseveringly carried out, success
The method here presented is not a new one : it has
been in vogue more than half a century, and is still
used with great success by some of the best instructors
In addition to writing words and sentences, let the
child also spell them by means of the manual alphabet,
of which engravings are given in this book.
How to Begin. — First Step. *J5
In memorizing the alphabets, the best way is to
learn thoroughly each horizontal row of characters
before commencing the next one below. If this ia
done, the alphabet will be perfectly mastered in less
than an hour. Use either the one or the two handed
alphabets as you like best.
It is also well to use every means to preserve the
voeal utterance of the child, for, though hearing cannot
be recovered, speech may, in many cases, be retained,
if the child is constantly practised in the use of
The child may be taught as early as the age of three
or i©ur to write a few words. From that age, until
iSix or -seven, he should be practised by the method
here given, and then sent to some institution, where
his progress will be very rapid if this preparatory
home training has been well performed.
HOW TO BEGIN.— FIRST STEP.
Begin by writing in a plain round hand the name of
some common object. Show to the child first the
object and then the name, pointing from one to the
Other until he sees that the name stands for the object.
Get him to copy the word, and when he has mastered
it, teach him another in the same way. Always write
the before the names of objects. As above explained
teach the following list of words containing all the
letters of the alphabet :
the book, the cup, the mug, the jar,
the key, the quill, the feather, the box,
the pen, the watch, the glove, the zinc.
Besides these, the names father, mother, the child's
Own name, and those of his brothers and sisters,
should be taught.
As soon as the child can write the names of five or
six objects, sentences may be taught. To do this a
short direction to do something, as, Touch the box, is
Shown to the pupil. Then the teacher himself touches
the box and gets the child to imitate him. After
several repetitions the child is made to copy the
sentence, / ' touched the box, as the proper way of
76 An Easy Method of Teaching Deaf-mules at Home.
expressing what lie has done. He is then directed in
writing to touch some other object of which he knows
the name, and, if he does not understand, the teacher
again explains as before. This is repeated frequently
until the pupil, on being shown a direction to touch a
familiar object, will at once go and do so. This
process of writing a short direction, showing the child
what it means- by simply performing the action indicat-
ed, and then having him copy the proper form of
sentence to express what he has done, is to be always
carried out. Proceed in the same manner with many
examples like the following :
Touch the key. Touch the table.
Touch the cup. Touch the chair.
Touch the mug. Touch father.
Touch the jar. Touch mother.
Touch the zinc. Touch John.
Touch the watch. Touch Mary.
The teacher must also touch objects himself, and get
the child to describe what he has done, by using you
in place of I, thus :
You touched the key. You touched the fork.
You touched the shovel. You touched the glove.
A third person should also be asked to do some-
thing in the presence of the child, and the latter,
taught to describe it, as :
Father touched the slate. John touched the fan.
Mother touched the pail. Mary touched the jug.
John touched Mary. Mary touched John.
When the pupil has became expert in these exercises,
direct him to touch two or more objects, which must
at first be placed together before him. Vary all of the
foregoing exercises, as in the 1 examples given below :
I touched the hat and the kty.
I touched the chair and the table.
You touched the book and the shovel.
You touched the pencil and the slate.
Father touched the door and the hat
John touched the knife and the fork.
The same exercises should now be continued, with
the following words in place of touch. Each word
must be used quite often and thoroughly mastered
before a new one is given :
Phrases. — Color, Size, Form, SfC.
The following phrases, it will be seen, are as easily
explained as any of the single words above given, by
merely performing the act indicated. These should
be used very often, and with as many objects as are
appropriate to them :
sit on, stand on, lie on, kneel on, -write on, play on, run on,
jump on,, roll on, stand in, staud .under, walk to, go into, .
walk into, run into, go <»•< of r walk out of, run out of, put on,-
take off, jump over, stand before, stand behind, stand beside,
stand near, walk around, walk across, stand between, point to,
bow to, shake hands.
The following examples will show how the abova
phrases are to be used :
I sat on the chair.
I stood on the box.
I went to the table.
Vou ran on the grass.
You turned off the gas.
You walked around the chair.
John walked across the room.
John stood b .fore falher.
Mr. Smith put on his coat.
I stood rn the tub.
I blew out the match..
I walked to the gate.
You went into the house.
You jumped over the stool.
You sat near the fire.
Mary ran from the dog.
Mary stood behind mother.
The cat jumped from the chain
I stood between the chair and the table.
I stood b tween the door and the window.
John sat between father and mother.
Father stood hrtweeu John and Mary.
You walked from the chair to the table.
You ran from the door to the gate.
COLOR, SIZE, FORM, &e.
The process of teaching color, size, form, possession
and numbers will now be considered. In explaining
these, some object having the qualities described by
the words used must always be placed before the
fr8 An Easy Method of Teaching Deaf-mutes at Home.
child ; otherwise the meaning cannot be made clear to
him. He must always learn by seeing, handling t
smelling and tasting the objects.
To explain color, make a number of balls of yarn of
different colors. These should be of black, white,
brown, gray, purple, red, orange, yellow, green, blue,
"white, violet. Pieces of ribbon, cloth, or sticks
painted of these colors, will answer as well. At the
printer's, cards of most of the above colors can be had
for a trifling sum.
Place one of the balls, say black, before the child,
and write the direction — Touch the black bait, and
proceed as before explained. Continue this with all
the colors in turn.
Also, explain the following words of opposite meaning,
with suitable objects. The contrast in meaning is a
great help towards understanding them : and for this
reason first one and then the other should be used :
hot, cold; hard, soft; wet, dry; clean, dirty; sweet, sour;
thick, thin; fat, lean; sharp, dull; new, old; high, low;
full, empty ; smooth, rough ; straight, crooked ; wide, narrow;
sound, rotten ; fragrant, fetid ; light, heavy ; Ac.
Size will now be considered. Get two objects of the
tame kind, but differing much in size, as stones, potatoes,
apples, books, &c, and with tliese teach the meaning of
the words large and small. Place both before the pupil
and direct him to touch one, and give him Ihe proper
form of sentence to describe what he has been doing.
Do the same with lhe other, and repeat until the
words are understood.
In teaching numbers, get stones, sticks, beans, ot
marbles, to count with. Then give the following
directions, and show the child how to carry them out
and express what he has done:
Put one bean on the table.
Put two beans on the table.
Put three beans on the table.
This exercise may be continued until all the numbers
up to one hundred have been learned. Let the child
learn both the names and the characters used to
Addition. — Subtraction. — Multiplication. 79
represent the numbers. Let the teacher himself, as well
as other persons, put objects in different places, and
teach the child to describe what they do. In this
exercise, language as well as numbers are being learned
at the same time, as the examples here given will show :
I put four books on the tabic.
I put nine stones in the pail.
I put fifteen be ans under the tabic.
You put one stone and ssven sticks in the hat.
To teach addition, put down two beans before the
child, and pointing from one to the other, give him the
sentence, One and one are two, to copy. When this is
mastered place one bean at his left hand and two at his
right, and let him write, One and two are three. Then,
with one and three beans, placed in the same way,
teach him to write, One and three are four. Go on in this
way up to One and ten are eleven. Keep on until the
child can write out this part of the table correctly.
When we come to subtraction we have simply to
place a row of beans before the child, and taking
away one or more, give him the proper form in which
to express the operation.
Begin by placing two beans before him, and then
taking away one, write One from two leaves one. So
proceed up to One from eleven leaves ten. When this is
mastered, change the places of the sentences and lei
the child fill up the blank spaces thus :
One from six leaves .
One from two leaves .
One from nine leaves .
Proceed in this manner until the tables in sub-
traction are thoroughly mastered.
In multiplication the beans are to be arranged in
groups containing an equal number. First place one
bean before the child, and another a little way from it,
and have him write, Two times one are two. Then
place two beans in each group, and write Two time*
two are four. Next put three beans in each group, and
80 An Easy Method of Teaching Jbeaf-mutes at Home.
write Two times three are six. In this way proceed to
"two times ten are twenty. As before, finish by changing
the places of the sentences and leaving a blank for the
pupil to fill up. Teach the remaining tables in th«
In division there may be a little more difficulty, but
patience will overcome, all. Here the process consists
in arranging a row of beans before the child, and then
separating it into groups containing the same number.
, Place two beans before the pupil. With both hands
separate them and draw each a little to one side.
Then write One is in iwo twice. Now separate in the'
same way a row of four beans, and write Two is in
Jour twice. In this manner continue till Ten is in
twenty twice, has been reached. Change the places of
the sentences, and proceed as before described. Finish
all the tables in division in this way.
The teaching Of fractions is far less difficult than
may at first sight appear.
Let there be some apples in the room, and give the
child the. direction, Bring me one apple. Take the
apple, and in his sight divide it into two equal parts.
Then write the direction, Bring me one^ha/f of the apple,
explaining the phrase one-half of the apple, by pointing
to it 1 and then to the object. Then write, Bring me
two halves of Vie apple. As in the previous exercises,
let the child be practised frequently, until he has
mastered this. Show him that one-half and \ mean
the same thing.
Tlie Two Handed Alphabet.
Tlie One Handed Alphabet